Dutch PM Mark Rutte to quit politics after election, marking the end


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the Netherlands’ longest serving premier, said on Monday he will leave politics after an early general election sparked by a dispute over migration that led to his government’s resignation.
His decision means the end of nearly 13 years in power for the conservative leader sometimes called “ Teflon Mark “ because scandals that plagued his four different administrations did not stick to him.
Rutte, the 56-year-old leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, or VVD, announced his decision at a hastily arranged parliamentary debate to discuss the fall of his latest governing coalition.
Rutte called it a ‘personal decision’, regardless of the developments in recent weeks. There was no immediate indication who might replace Rutte as leader of the VVD. The party’s parliamentary faction is led by Sophie Hermans, Rutte’s former political assistant.
No date has yet been set for the election, but it is not expected before October or November.
In the 27-nation European Union, only Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been in charge of a country longer than Rutte, but their leadership styles could not be more different.
But the Dutch prime minister’s four-party ruling coalition resigned Friday after failing to agree on a package of measures to rein in migration, an issue that often has divided the EU as a whole. Rutte said it was a unanimous decision prompted by “irreconcilable differences” among the partner parties.
Supporters and opponents alike called it the end of an era.Rutte steered the Netherlands through crises ranging from flooding to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.