Skip to main content

Dutch government collapses after far right pulls plug

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Tue April 24, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lammakers will meet Tuesday to decide how to go forward
  • Mark Rutte's government depended on the support of Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom
  • The far-right party did far better than anyone expected in 2010
  • The country could hold new elections within months

(CNN) -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte resigned Monday after a far-right party withdrew its support for his government, a government spokesman said.

The move may clear the way for early elections in the Netherlands, possibly as soon as this summer, the government said.

The resignation came after the far-right party withdrew from talks about an austerity package worth €14.2 billion, the equivalent of $18.6 billion, according to a news report reprinted on a parliamentary website.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide how to go forward.

Queen Beatrix asked Rutte and his ministers to stay in their positions until new elections.

Rutte's government had depended on the support of Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom, which came in third in parliamentary elections two years ago.

No party won enough seats to govern alone in 2010, so Rutte cobbled together a coalition with another center-right party.

But even that alliance did not command a majority in parliament, so they relied on the support of Wilders' anti-Muslim party.

The Party for Freedom did not get control of any government ministries, but the coalition agreement included elements it pushed for, such as a burqa ban.

No ban has been put in place.

Wilders' Party for Freedom defied predictions by taking 24 seats in parliament in June 2010, more than doubling the number of seats it held before the vote.

Wilders himself has been in and out of court for years, accused of inciting hatred against Muslims with his controversial film "Fitna."

The movie, which he released online in March 2008 to international outcry, features disturbing images of terrorist acts superimposed over verses from the Quran in an apparent attempt to paint Islam as a threat to Western society.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT