10th Dec 2023

Trust in Dutch government drops, but not for Rutte

Listen to article

Trust in all branches of the Dutch government has plummeted in the past year, according to new polling by I&O Research on Tuesday (21 September).

Only four-out-of-ten voters are now content with the current (outgoing) cabinet, compared to 45 percent in July - and 67 percent in mid-2020.

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

Confidence in the ministers (32 percent), the House of Representatives (36 percent) and government in general (42 percent) have also declined sharply.

About 15 percent of those surveyed have "lost all confidence" in the government. This percentage is even higher among the low-skilled at 20 percent, up from 13 percent six months ago.

Especially on the political right, distrust has soared - with FVD (73 percent), BBB (38 percent), PVV (37 percent) and JA21 (35 percent) voters saying they have "no trust in the government at all."

"People don't feel represented," said head researcher Peter Kanne in a Dutch radio interview on Tuesday, referring to the tax-benefits scandal that shook the country this year.

The government had falsely accused tens of thousands of parents of child benefit fraud. Many of them had to pay back the entire amount, often losing their homes, their children and their health due to extreme stress.

Following the scandal, and after losing a vote of confidence, the cabinet of prime minister Mark Rutte resigned. Rutte publicly admitted that he is "politically directly responsible" for the affair.

He then proceeded to win the election in March. However, since then, he has not been able to form a new government, and so only remains interim head of state.

This political impasse has been accompanied by a string of prominent resignations in his (outgoing) cabinet, with Sigrid Kaag, the foreign minister, and Ank Bijlenveld, the defence minister, leaving last week over parliamentary criticism of the government's handling of the evacuations from Afghanistan.

The deadlock exacerbates government inaction on issues that have lead to protests in the past, among them the ongoing nitrogen crisis - leading to farmers' protests in 2019 and 2020 - a building impasse, and the lack of affordable housing. Earlier this month, an estimated 15,000 people demonstrated in Amsterdam against soaring housing prices, which rose by 14.6 percent in 12 months.

However, the study finds the loss of trust among voters in government does not seem to extend to Rutte.

"In the current formation [crisis], many people still see Rutte as the most appropriate prime minister, especially because they are disappointed in the alternatives," the report states.

The perception of Mark Rutte as a "reliable prime minister" has increased since May, while support for other leaders has dwindled. Polls consistently show his party (VVD) at between 20 to 25 percent of the electorate. Since the elections, it has increased.

"Voters probably see there is no alternative," Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the ChristenUnie and his political rival, explained on Tuesday. "If anyone can survive political conflicts, it is him."


Rutte - from 'Mr No' to 'next Tusk'?

Make no mistake – Rutte, sometimes considered as a potential candidate to succeed Donald Tusk, is one of the toughest of the EU's current heads of state.


How Wilders' Dutch extremism goes way beyond Islamophobia

Without losing sight of his pervasive Islamophobia, it is essential to note Geert Wilders' far-right extremism extends to other issues that could drastically alter the nature of Dutch politics — and end its often constructive role in advancing EU policies.

Latest News

  1. How Moldova is trying to control tuberculosis
  2. Many problems to solve in Dubai — honesty about them is good
  3. Sudanese fleeing violence find no haven in Egypt or EU
  4. How should EU reform the humanitarian aid system?
  5. EU suggests visa-bans on Israeli settlers, following US example
  6. EU ministers prepare for all-night fiscal debate
  7. Spain's Nadia Calviño backed to be EIB's first female chief
  8. Is there hope for the EU and eurozone?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us