Dutch prime minister, cabinet resign as budget cut talks fall
The Hague, Netherlands (AHN) – Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s minority government ended on Monday after just one-and-a-half years in power as the collapse of budget deficit talks with a populist party forced him to resign.
Rutte submitted his official resignation to Queen Beatrix in The Hague to pave way for new elections after his ruling coalition and center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy lost support from the anti-euro Freedom Party, which rejected his $17 billion budget cut plan on Saturday.
The spending cut is aimed at keeping the budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013 in line with new EU rules and to keep the country’s AAA credit rating from Fitch Ratings. However, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders believes the Rutte government’s austerity plan is detrimental to the economy, will curtail people’s spending and cause unemployment.
The Netherlands has up to April 30 to submit its budget plan to the European Commission. The government plans to push through with the budget cuts even without a parliamentary majority, according to Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager.