New coalition government sworn in by King of Netherlands

10 January 2022, 11:04

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte arrives at Royal Palace Noordeinde in The Hague, Netherlands (Peter Dejong/AP)
Netherlands Politics. Picture: PA

Premier Mark Rutte will be at the helm of a coalition for the fourth time.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander swore in a new ruling coalition, led for the fourth time by Mark Rutte, amid a nationwide coronavirus lockdown and policy challenges ranging from climate change and housing shortages to the future of agriculture.

The ceremony in the ballroom at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague came after a record-breaking coalition formation process following the March 17 general election that highlighted deep divisions in the splintered Dutch political landscape.

Mr Rutte, 54, has already led three coalitions and is now set to become the Netherlands’ longest-serving prime minister despite only narrowly surviving a no-confidence motion in parliament in April.

He introduced his new team one by one to the king before they were formally sworn in by agreeing to the oath of office and then posing, socially distanced, for a photo.

Willem-Alexander wished them “good health and wisdom” in their new jobs.

The swearing-in of the new government also comes almost a year to the day since Mr Rutte and his entire Cabinet resigned to accept political responsibility for a scandal involving the nation’s tax office that wrongly labelled as fraudsters thousands of parents who claimed childcare benefits.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte will lead his fourth coalition (Peter Dejong/AP)
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte will lead his fourth coalition (Peter Dejong/AP)

Even so, Mr Rutte will lead a coalition made up of the same four parties that quit to end his third term.

His fourth administration is made up of Mr Rutte’s conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, together with the centrist, pro-European D66, the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal and centrist Christian Union.

Together, they command a narrow majority in the 150-seat lower house of Dutch parliament, but are in the minority in the upper house.

For the first time in Dutch political history, half of the senior Cabinet ministers are women.

One of them, D66 leader Sigrid Kaag, the new finance minister, took part in the swearing-in by videoconference because she is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.

“It’s a slightly different start than I’d hoped for, but I am going to begin full of energy,” Ms Kaag tweeted on Sunday.

In a policy blueprint published late last year, the new government outlined plans to cut taxes, offer almost free childcare for working parents, bring back grants for higher education students and a plan to build about 100,000 new homes each year.

The ambitious agenda will cost billions in this country, which is long known for its fiscal frugality.

The new coalition also has vowed to work to win back public trust in government that has been eroded by scandals, polarisation, frustration in parts of society at measures to tackle the pandemic and at the drawn-out coalition negotiations.

Mr Rutte said the coalition would seek to work together with “society and with our political colleagues” in parliament to implement reforms.

He has yet to convince everybody.

Outside the palace, a protester sang: “Rutte take your rubbish with you.”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Krisztina plays with her children on their balcony in Budapest, Hungary

In Pictures: How people in Budapest are keeping cool amidst heatwave

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, leaves a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Wednesday August 10 2022

Photographs of basketball star Kobe Bryant’s body were ‘shared for a laugh’

Courtney Clenney has been arrested on suspicion of murder

Social media model Courtney Clenney arrested in Hawaii on suspicion of murder

Virus Outbreak North Korea

Kim Jong Un ‘suffered fever’ during North Korea’s Covid wave, says his sister

Russia Ukraine War

Satellite images show Crimea airbase damaged after apparent Ukrainian attack

The Spanish government has limited air conditioning and heating

Spain cracks down on air conditioning and heating in bid to save energy

Former US national security adviser John Bolton

Iranian operative charged in plot to murder Trump security adviser John Bolton

A resident sits on the sea wall as smoke rises in the background from a deadly fire at a large oil storage facility in Matanzas, Cuba

Firefighters subdue deadly blaze at key oil facility in Cuba

Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea

Ukraine says nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in Crimea blasts

The river Rhine is pictured with low water in Cologne, Germany

Fears mount that water levels in Rhine river could fall below critical mark

Former US president Donald Trump gestures as he departs Trump Tower on Wednesday August 10 2022 in New York

Donald Trump says he took the fifth amendment in New York investigation

Former US president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, late on Tuesday August 9 2022, in New York

Donald Trump arrives to give evidence in New York investigation

Taiwan’s military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, August 9, 2022

China appears to wind down threatening war games near Taiwan

People line up to enter an H&M shop and buy items on sale in the Aviapark shopping centre in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday August 9 2022

Russians buy last goods from H&M and Ikea as stores wind down

Tom Daley blames 'legacy of colonialism' for homophobia in the Commonwealth

Tom Daley blames British Empire's legacy of colonialism' for homophobic laws in Commonwealth nations

France Whale in Seine

Beluga whale stranded in French river dies, authorities say