The Dutch Prime Minister Survived a Motion of No-confidence
Dutch MPs rejected a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Mark Rutte, after the resignation of Foreign Minister Halbe Zeister. 101 MPs opposed the vote of mistrust, and only 43 MPs supported it. It was brought by Gert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch right-wing Party of Freedom. According to Wilders, it is unacceptable that the prime minister, who is at the helm of a very fragile coalition, has not informed MPs of the scandal with the foreign minister. Yesterday, Halbe Zeister resigned after just four months in office. He confessed to lawmakers that he lied that he was present in 2006 at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Several MPs were angry at Prime Minister Rutte that he did not act immediately after being informed of the case three weeks ago.
"It was a mistake in my judgment," Rutte said, referring to his failure to inform Parliament in due time. "I did not think that this case would be of such importance to society, I underestimated the impact of this lie," Rutte admitted, after Wilder's motion for a no-confidence vote to the prime minister.
The resignation of the minister was the first scandal that shook the ruling coalition, formed after long months of difficult negotiations. The lie, which cost the post of foreign minister, was uttered in 2016. He then told what he had heard from Putin when he met with him 10 years ago.
According to the minister, Putin said he wanted to restore a Great Russia, including Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic States. Yesterday, the minister apologized to the deputies for his lie that in 2006 he met with Putin. Prime Minister Rutte, however, said that Halbe Zeister's speech on Russian expansionism reflects reality, Reuters reported.
"If you look at what Russia has done in the last 10-15 years, the policy that followed, you can say that all this is about expansion," Rutte said during the parliamentary debate.
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