The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte’s government resigned on Friday 15 January over a scandal in which thousands of parents were falsely accused of child benefit fraud between 2013 and 2019.
Ministers will stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new coalition is formed, with general elections due in March – and Rutte and his centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy are performing strongly in polls.
Rutte had previously said he was opposed to dissolving the coalition, saying the Netherlands needs stability during the coronavirus pandemic, but other coalition parties said they believed political consequences were unavoidable following a scathing parliamentary report into the benefits scandal. He commented: “With this decision, the government wants to do justice to all those parents who have been unprecedentedly wronged.” The prime minister will offer his resignation to the king later today.
What will the consequences of the resignation be and how bad is this decision during the pandemic?
Political commentator Frits Wester explains the consequences:
“It sounds a bit crazy, but actually little or nothing. Normally, the cabinet will hold new elections after a fall, but they are already very close to 17 March, when we will normally have them. And although the cabinet will be out-of-office, it just has to keep doing things. The resignation is mainly symbolic of taking collective responsibility for everything that went terribly wrong in many sections of the government in the benefits affair.”
“It also makes little difference to the approach to the corona crisis. Even after 17 March, the cabinet would be outgoing and the virus would not have disappeared. Even then, the cabinet would have to continue to take measures during the cabinet formation. makes little or no difference to that approach.”
The pandemic is an ongoing situation and it is advisable to check the websites of the relevant authorities to obtain the most up-to-date information.
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