The opposition has accused Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of lying. On Friday night, he survived a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly by a narrow margin.
It reports the German newspaper Deutsche Welle.
– I will continue as Prime Minister. I want to work really hard to restore confidence, said Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the vote in Parliament in The Hague on Good Friday night.
However, he did not escape unscathed: Parliament adopted a statement in which they formally criticize the prime minister, and in which they say that he has lied about comments he is said to have made during talks on a new government coalition.
“Parliament has given me a serious message and I will try my best to regain trust,” he told the press after the debate in parliament, reports Reuters.
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The Dutch prime minister has ruled the country for over ten years, and also became a clear winner in the March 17 parliamentary elections.
The background for the no-confidence motion was something that happened during talks about a new government coalition after this election.
One of the leaders of the government negotiations was depicted with documents from the polls, where, among other things, reference was made to discussions that the Christian Democratic politician Pieter Omtzigt should be “relocated”.
Omtzigt’s party was part of Rutte’s previous government – which had to resign in January after a social security scandal. Omtzigt has been known to “torment” the government with tough questions about this particular social security scandal.
When confronted with this by the media, Rutte said that he had not discussed Omtzigt at all during the meetings. On Thursday, he had to admit that he had remembered wrong: Documents that had been published showed that the prime minister had talked to other negotiators about whether Omtzigt should become minister.
– I do not stand here and lie, I tell the truth, Rutte claimed to parliament on Thursday, writes AP.
The Prime Minister also apologized to Omtzigt, who did not take part in the debate and vote in parliament.
– Confidence is severely weakened
Rutte has survived a number of scandals and no-confidence motions since he became prime minister in 2010, and has been nicknamed “Teflon-Rutte”.
Sigrid Kraag, who is the leader of the country’s second largest party D66, says that she is unsure whether she is willing to enter into an alliance with Rutte. The party was part of the prime minister’s previous government.
– My confidence in Rutte is severely weakened after this day. The distance between me and him has increased, I’m sorry about that, she said after the vote in parliament, according to the AP.
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