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The Netherlands

Dutch Prime Minister weighs in on monarch’s role in government formation

willem-alexander
© RVD – Paul Tolenaar.

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has weighed in once again on his ideas about the role a monarch should play in forming a new government. 

During his Christmas interview to newspaper De Telegraaf, Mr Rutte was asked about the current transition between this government and the next one. This transition has been going on for the past nine months, since the closure of the electoral process on 17 March, and has finally come to an end on 15 December, when Rutte’s party managed to submit a coalition to create a new government, for which Rutte is expected to serve as Prime Minister for a fourth term. 

Prime Minister Rutte expressed his opinion that the sovereign should be inserted once again in the process of creating a new government. In 2012, the House of Representatives decided to sideline the monarch and to take the process into their own hands. Even back then, Mr Rutte declared that the role of former Queen Beatrix would have been useful. 

However, during his interview, the Prime Minister declined to specify how the presence of the King in the discussion for the formation of his new government would have brought to a faster process. He said: “It’s not that if you bring the King back that the formation suddenly takes three months shorter, but it would help.” 

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is the second-longest serving Prime Minister in Dutch history and has occupied said place for the entire duration of King Willem-Alexander’s tenure as monarch. He has been in that position since 2010, and Queen Beatrix’s abdication came in 2013. 

2021 was a difficult year for Mr Rutte’s political career, as his tenure was plagued by the scandal of child welfare and the leak of documents that suggested he thought of sidelining the Minister, who was crucial in exposing said scandal. However, he barely survived a censure motion in the House and, after months of tense negotiations, is set to become Prime Minister for a government born out of the same coalition as the one he guided until March of 2021.