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World In the Netherlands, a political crisis at the height of an epidemic

02:50  17 january  2021
02:50  17 january  2021 Source:   lejdd.fr

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Malgré la démission de son gouvernement, Mark Rette reste candidat à un nouveau mandat aux Pays-Bas. © Sipa

Despite the resignation of his government, Mark Rette remains a candidate for a new mandate in the Netherlands.

There is seldom a good time for a government to resign. The crisis which swept away the Dutch executive on Friday falls particularly badly. Of course, he only had two months to live before the legislative elections scheduled for March 17. But, like the rest of Europe, the Netherlands is facing a new wave of Covid and an arrival of the English variant on their soil. In order not to disrupt the fight against the pandemic, Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also indicated that he will remain in office in order to manage current affairs.

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It is a sordid affair, known as the fraud in family allowances, which sealed the end of the fragile coalition set up in 2017. Between 2013 and 2019, thousands of families, wrongly accused of fraud, were forced to repay state payments, plunging some of them into serious financial problems while some were subjected to ethnic profiling. The scandal spattered the cabinet of Mark Rutte after the publication in December of a parliamentary report on the subject. If he hadn't returned his apron, the government would likely have received a vote of no confidence next week.


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The mea culpa of "Mister Teflon"

Initially unfavorable to a resignation, the head of government has mea culpa at a press conference Friday: "The rule of law must protect its citizens from an almighty government, he explained. It has failed in a horrible way."

However, the one who has already spent ten years in power and who is nicknamed "Mister Teflon" for his ability to dodge delicate questions, does not intend to let go of the reins. Before Friday's coup, he announced his intention to run for a fourth term. The polls were so far favorable to him, with nearly 40% of the vote. Will it be the same after this political crisis? On Friday, it was under boos that Mark Rutte left the seat of government. Some of his opponents understood that they had a unique chance to bring him down. Like the leader of the Green Left party, Jesse Klaver, who said Friday's decision could mark a "new beginning, a turning point" for the Netherlands.

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