Dutch PM Rutte survives no-confidence vote

Dutch PM Rutte survives no-confidence vote

Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte (2nd L) is followed by journalists in the parliament building. Rutte is in serious trouble after he misinformed parliament and actively sought to move an inconvenient lawmaker to another position. Photo: Remko De Waal/ANP/dpa/IANS

The Hague, April 2 (IANS) Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday narrowly survived a no-confidence vote called after he was accused of misinforming Parliament and actively seeking to move an inconvenient lawmaker to another position. The premier's credibility was however seriously damaged as parliament passed a motion of disapproval, saying he had not told the truth about remarks made during coalition talks, reports dpa news agency. At a special session on Thursday, almost all parliamentary groups voiced severe criticism of the right-wing liberal premier after he gave the impression that he wanted to sideline an inconvenient critic and several opposition parties called for a vote of confidence. After a long and turbulent debate over Rutte's controversial statements during government formation talks, the opposition ultimately lacked a majority for a vote of no-confidence in the early hours of Friday in The Hague. Rutte was expected to continue efforts to form his fourth coalition government after parliamentary elections in mid-March handed his centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) a majority. A first round of coalition talks was unexpectedly broken off last week after a confidential memo became public. The note, which became public on Thursday, mentioned re-positioning Pieter Omtzigt, a lawmaker known for often asking pointed or inconvenient questions to the government. Before the note became public, Rutte had claimed that the lawmaker had not been a topic of conversation. Once the note appeared to contradict him, the premier told parliament that he had forgotten this remark, saying he had never intended to move the Christian Democratic lawmaker. He added that he was sorry that this turned into a chaotic situation. Omtzigt was involved in uncovering a disastrous affair over child subsidies which led to the government's resignation in January.

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