Nearly two-thirds think that Rutte should leave office: why don’t the Dutch like their PM?

A recent survey conducted by Hart van Nederland found that the majority of Dutchies are seriously wondering why Mark Rutte is still the country’s prime minister. 

As an international not closely following Dutch politics, you may be curious what caused this dramatic unpopularity. Here are some of the reasons why Mark Rutte may no longer be the prime minister the Netherlands wants. 

Childcare allowance scandal 

In the childcare allowance scandal, which was hotly debated at the beginning of this year, the Dutch Tax Authority falsely accused thousands of parents of making fraudulent childcare allowance claims, making them repay the benefits they had received. 

Ethnic profiling and institutional bias were involved, and some families had to repay tens of thousands of euros, ending up in financial hardship. 

An investigation carried out by a parliamentary committee stated that Mark Rutte and his second and third cabinet were partly responsible for this injustice towards thousands of parents. 

Following these events, in January 2021, Mark Rutte and his crumbling cabinet officially resigned, announcing they would finish the election term as a demissionary cabinet. 

The Omtzigt scandal

However, the childcare allowance scandal wasn’t enough to deter people from voting for Rutte, and in March, his VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) won the election again. 

But the subsequent debates about the formation of the new government led to yet another scandal — and this time, Rutte’s reputation was seriously damaged. 

It all started when the Minister of Interior Relations Kajsa Ollongern tested positive for coronavirus in the middle of debates with party leaders of the newly elected government.  

As she was rushing home, she forgot to cover confidential notes which mentioned that the CDA parliament member Pieter Omtzigt — the very person who happened to have played a crucial role in exposing the childcare allowance scandal — could “get a position elsewhere.” 

Rutte denied discussing Omtzigt’s position in the coalition negotiations, but more leaked notes proved the opposite. The prime minister was called a liar and lost the trust of not only many other party leaders, but also the people. 

About 60% of the Dutch think that Rutte should have resigned from his position after that scandal, found the Hart van Nederland survey.

Handling the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is a challenge for governments across the world. However, some administrations have handled this challenge better than others — support for the Dutch approach has been declining over the past year. 

A recent survey from the RIVM found that only 42% of the people surveyed have confidence in the way the Dutch government is handling the pandemic. In contrast, 17% had zero confidence in the government’s approach.

Denying the Dutch their favourite snack

If all the previous points weren’t enough, Mark Rutte’s latest statement was definitely the final straw. During the last press conference, the prime minister casually announced that even though bars and restaurants are opening, it’s not yet time for bitterballen

While this may sound trivial in the light of the aforementioned scandals, some Dutchies experience this as an attack on the public and feel that the prime minister is no longer close to the ordinary people. 

How closely do you follow Dutch politics? Do you think that Mark Rutte should leave the office? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Government of Netherlands/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Rutte, his re-election after the scandal and the way this criminal actions from state authorities and representatives against minorities are handled, represents the ideology of an entire society. The entire country is built on fake promises and lies. The best example is the aspect of systematic discrimination ranging from politics into industry and academics happening all the time. Only now minorities does not accept it anymore and more people speak up and investigate. The ruling party of the Netherlands at this moment tries to repeat history. Embracing Colonization through off-shoring and supporting Racism. The Netherlands are an Off-Shore and racist country. That is the simple truth and Silence means Consent.

  2. Very mysterious! The Dutch people voted for Rutte but two thirds want him to leave office? Something about Dutch politics doesn’t translate into het Engels.

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