According to Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a dispute over asylum policies among the coalition parties is to blame for the breakdown of the Dutch government.
The four parties broke during Friday’s crisis discussions, which were presided over by Rutte.
Then, on Saturday, Rutte met with King Willem-Alexander in The Hague and consented to head a caretaker administration until new elections, which are anticipated for mid-November.
The coalition allies rejected Rutte’s plan to limit the opportunity for reunification of immigrant families.
Although the administration was established a year and a half ago, the parties have long held opposing views on immigration. Rutte revealed no details of his about one-and-a-half-hour long discussions with the king. He told reporters, “It was a good discussion, but I’m not saying anything else because these discussions are confidential.”
Following a controversy about overcrowded migration shelters last year, his conservative VVD party had been attempting to restrict the influx of asylum seekers. His junior coalition allies resisted his intentions.
In the Netherlands, asylum applications increased by more than a third in 2017 to reach more than 47,000, and government officials predicted earlier this year that there would be about 70,000 applications in 2023.
Rutte attempted to push through a package this week that included a limit on the number of relatives of war refugees who might enter.
However, the Christian Union, a party that supports families, and the socially liberal D66 were vehemently opposed.
As he announced the resignation of his cabinet, Rutte told reporters, “The decision was very difficult for us”. He stated that there were “irreconcilable” disagreements in the coalition partners’ points of view. “All parties went to great lengths to find a solution, but the differences on migration are unfortunately impossible to bridge, he added.”
A compromise idea known as the “emergency brake,” could not save the government. The idea would only impose limitations in the event of an abnormally large surge of migrants.
Tim Kuijsten, spokesman for the Christian Union’s said, “The four parties decided that they cannot reach an agreement on migration. Therefore they decided to end this government.”
Rutte, 56, has held the position of prime minister for the longest time, having taken it over in 2010. He has formed four coalitions since taking office, the most recent of which was in January 2022.
He claimed he still have the stamina for a fifth term, but said he would have to talk with his party before making a final decision. Due to the development of far-right parties like Geert Wilders’ PVV, he has come under criticism on immigration.
After an unexpected election victory in March, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), which is now the largest party in the upper chamber of parliament, declared they will not participate in any future Rutte administration.