This content is not available in your region

Dutch election: Mark Rutte profile

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Dutch election: Mark Rutte profile

<p>Fifty-year-old Mark Rutte leads the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. He has been prime minister of Netherlands since October 2010. </p> <p>During the 2010 legislative elections Mark Rutte campaigned at a time when the economy of the country was dominated by the effects of fiscal austerity.</p> <p>Back then, he was open to forming a coalition with the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders.</p> <p>“We do not rule out any party, not even … no party at all. At the same time there are huge differences between my party and the Labour Party and the Freedom Party.’‘</p> <p>Rutte’s party won the largest number of seats in the 2010 election and became the Netherlands first liberal leader of since 1918. </p> <p>The People’s Party won just one seat more than the social-democratic Labour Party. In order to lead the country, Rutte’s first government needed parliamentary support from Labour, and Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam, anti-EU Party for Freedom, which came in third.</p> <p>Rutte and Wilders didn’t see eye to eye on many issues. Wilders withdrew his support for Rutte’s budget cuts and fresh elections were called. </p> <p>Mark Rutte’s People’s Party won the highly contested vote. After a long night of celebrating, Prime Minister Mark Rutte geared up for difficult negotiations with future coalition partners. </p> <p>Rutte, who claimed to be the status quo candidate, had pledged in mid-January not to form a coalition with anti-Islamist MP Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party.</p> <p>Wilders pointed out Rutte’s string of broken promises, such as a thousand-euro tax refund for each taxpayer, and his pledge to give no more money to Greece.</p> <p>Mark Rutte remains committed to the European Union, presenting himself as the only serious alternative to Geert Wilders.</p>