Dutch PM Rutte survives no-confidence vote

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Dutch PM Rutte survives no-confidence vote

On Friday, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte suffered a major setback as parliament passed a motion disapproving of his behavior and saying he had not spoken the truth.

After the March 17 elections, Lawmakers called for a new independent investigator to oversee preliminary formation talks in which Rutte's conserative VVD party took the majority of votes.

Rutte, acting as caretaker prime minister, survived a no-confidence vote and will be allowed to continue in that role as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The investigator, who has not been named yet, will see what options there are to restore confidence, said the motion filed by the D-66 and Christian Democrats parties, likely allies of the VVD Party in a future coalition.

The Parliament has given me a serious message and I will try my very best to win back confidence, a relieved Rutte told reporters after the debate.

The formation of the new government has been set back by the affair for at least several weeks and it is not clear now that Rutte will have the respect needed to lead a fourth cabinet.

Sigrid Kaag, who had collected the second most votes in the elections that had been seen as a referendum on Rutte's performance during the pandemic, was bluntly skeptical.

If I was him, I would not continue, Rutte said when asked about her position.

The crisis became acute on Thursday after Rutte acknowledged privately that his post should go to a prominent member of parliament who had been critical of his previous cabinet. Rutte had previously said he did not do so, but notes from a meeting showed that he had.

The only thing I can do here is say from the bottom of my heart that I never lied, Rutte said in the parliament on Thursday.

Rutte, a 54-year-old conservative who has been in office for more than 10 years, pointed to his record and said he hoped to continue to lead the country.

On 25 March, the discussions on forming a new government were put on hold when one of the chief negotiators unexpectedly revealed a sensitive document to a news photographer. She left it in view as she rushed out of parliament after learning that she had tested positive for COVID- 19.

The document showed that negotiators were discussing a position elsewhere for prominent Christian democrat Pieter Omtzigt, a popular Christian Democrat who had been critical of Rutte's previous cabinet. The other cryptic comment has been interpreted as implying either outside parliament or outside the Netherlands.

Omtzigt, who was sworn in as a member of parliament on Wednesday, said the suggestion that he should be removed was an affront to the Dutch voter.

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