Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government suddenly collapsed on Friday amid internal disputes over immigration policy. Rutte, who has ruled the Netherlands since 2010, effectively ended his fourth administration after giving his coalition partners an ultimatum to limit the right to family reunification for refugees from war zones.
Although Rutte's coalition had been negotiating on asylum policy for weeks and were close to reaching an agreement, problems arose on Wednesday when Rutte suddenly presented demands that were not subject to agreement, Time reported.
Rutte told reporters in The Hague on Friday evening: "Migration is a big and important issue, both politically and socially. Since we can no longer reach an agreement on this issue, we have jointly decided that the political support has disappeared," Rutte told reporters in The Hague on Friday evening, announcing the end of the coalition.
Rutte offered the government's resignation to King Willem-Alexander. On Monday there will be a debate in the Dutch parliament on the fall of the cabinet.
The country's Electoral Council said on Friday that the vote would be held in mid-November at the earliest, given Dutch law that allows time for new parties to register and polling centers to be organized, among other factors, Time reported. Until then, the Cabinet will be in place.
Rutte, 56, the country's longest-serving Dutch Prime Minister, has a good chance of running again for a fifth term.
Some polls suggest that Rutte remains the leader of his party and that he could secure a new term by forming a different coalition.
Rutte may return to the right wing in order to realize a coalition more in line with his new stance on immigration, which has been the main issue of internal strife in his coalition.
According to analysts, the Dutch government's political situation during the resignation period is likely to grind to a halt, freezing decisions on pressing issues such as the housing market, climate and nitrogen targets. Still, the interim cabinet needs to come up with a new budget for next year and announce it during Budget Day in September. The budget is expected to rely heavily on pre-existing policies.
The government is dealing with a lack of affordable housing and deteriorating health and education amid a chronic labor shortage.
On the country's most important foreign policy issue, the Russian invasion, Rutte has pledged to continue supporting Ukraine. On Saturday, he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The leaders expressed their support for each other in the difficult times both countries are going through.