Rutte, Mark

Rutte, Mark rŭtˈtə [key], 1967–, Dutch politician, prime minister of the Netherlands (2010–), b. The Hague. He studied at Leiden Univ. (M.A., 1992), where he joined the youth organization of the conservative-leaning People's party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). After graduation, he was a business executive, working for two major corporations. On his party's national board (1993–97) and briefly a member of the lower house of the States General (2003), Rutte served as state secretary for social affairs and employment (2002–4) and as state secretary for higher education, culture, and science (2004–6). In 2006 he returned to the States General's lower house, and was elected VVD leader. After the 2010 elections, in which the VVD won the largest bloc of seats, Rutte became prime minister of a conservative-coalition minority government. Rutte remained prime minister after the 2012 elections, leading a VVD-Labor majority government, and after the 2017 elections, leading a four-party center-right government. He and his cabinet resigned in Jan., 2021, amid a childcare benefits scandal; beginning in 2012, thousands of families were falsely accused of fraud and forced to pay back benefits.

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