Prospects of new Rutte-led Dutch government wane as coalition partner quits

FILE - In this file photo dated Saturday, July 18, 2020, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. The Netherlands is holding a general election over three days starting March 15 2021 because of fears that busy polling stations could spike infections, which comes after Prime Minister Mark Rutte has spent more than a decade in power.

Prospects of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte forming a new government waned on Saturday as a coalition partner seen as vital for securing a majority ruled out joining a new administration led by him.

“We don’t want to return to ‘business as usual’. We cannot be part of a fourth Rutte government”, ChristenUnie leader Gert Jan Segers said in an interview with newspaper Nederlands Dagblad.

ChristenUnie has been one of four parties in the government led by Rutte’s conservative VVD party since 2017.

Rutte narrowly survived a no confidence vote on Friday after parliament passed a motion disapproving of his behaviour during government formation talks, accusing him of not having spoken the truth about suggestions he made over the possible future of a critical lawmaker from another party.

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