Monday

19th Apr 2021

Dutch leader to extend 10-year rule

  • Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is a veteran on the EU stage (Photo: European Council)

Dutch centre-right prime minister Mark Rutte is poised to extend his 10-year rule after elections on Wednesday (17 March), in which new liberal and far-right faces also gained.

"The voters of the Netherlands have given my party an overwhelming vote of confidence," Rutte said in parliament in The Hague after exit polls came in.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Not everything has gone well in the last 10 years ... But of course the main issue also on the table for the next years is how to rebuild the country going forward after corona," he added.

"I have the energy for another 10 years," the 54-year old said.

The victory came despite "this unprecedented crisis" of the pandemic, Sophie Hermans, one of Rutte's senior MPs, also said.

For her part, Sigrid Kaag, the new face of the D66 liberal party, jumped on the table in her campaign HQ after coming second.

The old face of the far-right, Geert Wilders, lost a few seats, but still came in third place.

And corona-denier Thierry Baudet also gained (7th place), while left-wing parties suffered.

The most likely result is more of the same under Rutte with D66 and other conservatives.

Some 16 parties out of 37 that ran made it into the legislature and will splinter its 150 seats based on proportional representation.

Rutte had campaigned as a safe pair of hands on the pandemic and for the Dutch economy.

His past 10 years in office also covered the 2015 EU migration crisis and the earlier euro earthquake.

And he is a veteran on the EU stage in a year of change in which German chancellor Angela Merkel is to step down.

Rutte's government had resigned in January in a fiscal scandal, but Wednesday's elections were scheduled to have taken place anyway.

The vote was held under an evening curfew and amid a third wave of corona infections in Europe.

Turnout was 82 percent, but most campaigning took place on screen.

Opinion

The Dutch election is boring - and that's a good thing

Where there is consensus, it should be welcomed. Critics who lament the Dutch tendency to woolly compromises should be careful what they wish for. Muddling through has served the Netherlands well.

Dutch government resigns two months before election

The four parties of the Dutch government, lead by prime minister Mark Rutte, have decided to let the government fall. On 17 March, two months from now, there are parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.

Opinion

Sudan asylum decision signals Dutch moral collapse

Dutch decision to start deporting Sudanese refugees despite atrocious violence in their home country disfigures the notion of the Netherlands being one of the more progressive societies on earth.

Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line

Ukraine has invited EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell to visit its front line with Russia, in what one EU diplomat said would be his "best revenge" for his recent humiliation in Moscow.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us