Mark Rutte announces departure from politics

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is leaving politics, he announced in the House of Representatives on Monday. He will no longer lead the VVD list in the upcoming elections in November.

Rutte announced the end of his political career at the start of a debate on the recent collapse of the Dutch government. The government collapsed on Friday after the parties in its coalition failed to reach an agreement on migration policy.

"This is not without emotion. But it also feels good to pass on the baton"

Rutte became prime minister of the Netherlands in 2010, and last summer became the country's longest-serving prime minister. Now 56, his ability to survive political scandals has earned him the nickname Teflon Mark.

"There has been speculation in recent days about what motivates me," said Rutte. "The only answer is: the Netherlands. My position is completely secondary to that. On Sunday, I decided that I will not be available as a list leader for the VVD in the upcoming elections."

When announcing the fall of his government on Friday, he still said he had "the energy and ideas" to continue. Speaking to the press after his statement on Monday, Rutte said he had "mixed feelings". "This is not without emotion. But it also feels good to pass on the baton."



Outgoing Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during a suspension of the House of Representatives debate in which he announced his departure from politics © ANP ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN

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