THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s fourth government was sworn in on Monday, a record 299 days after the last election and a year after his previous administration was forced to step down, with the coronavirus crisis https: / /www.reuters .com / world / europe / netherlands-registers-record-number-coronavirus-cases-24-hours-2022-01-05 looms after a surge in spending.
The new coalition has pledged generous spending on sustainable energy, housing, child care and education, but will have to deal with the health crisis first as the Omicron variant has pushed coronavirus infections to record levels.
The government will have to decide by Friday whether a large lockdown that has closed most public places since mid-December can be relaxed despite the wave of new coronavirus cases.
Although the coalition is made up of the same four parties that have been in power since 2017, it took almost 10 months to bring them together after the inconclusive elections on March 17, 2020, which increased parties’ reluctance to compromise.
The parties finally agreed to a government pact last month, in which they left years of austerity behind with a series of spending plans https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ frugal-no-more-new-dutch-government-promises-acceleration-spending-2021-12-16 fueled by ultra-low interest rates.
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These investments will have to appeal to a largely skeptical public. Opinion polls have shown that after a year of internal political struggles and what is widely seen as faltering coronavirus policies, confidence in Rutte as prime minister and in politics as a whole has fallen to low. new lower.
In recent months, some anti-government protests have resulted in violent riots and several ministers have reported receiving death threats.
Last week, a man carrying a burning torch was arrested at the home of Sigrid Kaag, the new finance minister.
Rutte, who was appointed Prime Minister in 2010, and Hungarian Viktor Orban are the oldest heads of government in the European Union. Rutte is set to become the longest-serving prime minister in Dutch history by August.
(Report by Bart Meijer, edited by Timothy Heritage)
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