Netherlands’ New Government Sworn In


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

THE HAGUE (Worthy News) – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte began his fourth term in office Monday despite mounting against his strict COVID measures.

Rutte, 54, also faces policy challenges ranging from what his government views as dangerous climate change to housing shortages, migration, and the future of Dutch agriculture.

King Willem-Alexander formally swore in the new government at a socially-distanced ceremony in the ballroom of the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.

The ’ new finance minister Sigrid Kaag missed the ceremonial inauguration saying she tested positive for the .

Monday‘s ceremony happened 10 months after the elections, following the most prolonged cabinet in Dutch history.

Ironically Rutte will lead a coalition of the same four parties that ended his third term.

NARROW MAJORITY

Rutte’s -liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy — together with the centrist, pro-European D66, the center-right Democratic Appeal, and centrist Christian Union — hold a narrow majority in the 150-seat Dutch parliament.

Rutte, who took office in 2010, is the longest-serving government leader in the European Union and Hungary’s rightwing nationalist Viktor Orbán.

The liberal leader is also due to become the longest-serving prime minister in Dutch history, as he is set to surpass Ruud Lubbers by August next year.

His new coalition — dubbed “Rutte IV” — faces an upsurge in coronavirus infections and will also be tasked with setting policy housing shortages and the future of agriculture.

The new government also plans to cut taxes, offer almost free childcare for working parents, bring back grants for higher students, and build about 100,000 new homes each year.

Plans were also announced to build two power plants and plans to spend 35 billion ($39.7 billion) over 10 years on “climate change,” despite criticism about the price tag.

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