Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives on his bike in front of the Council of Ministers in the Högen Bühnenhof.
REMKO DE WAAL | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – The entire Dutch government resigned en masse on Friday following a scandal involving childcare fund mismanagement that left thousands of families in financial straits.
An investigation in December revealed that tax officials wrongly accused thousands of working families of fraud and ordered them to pay childcare benefits between 2013 and 2019. The incident has been described by some Dutch MPs as an “unprecedented injustice”.
The revelation on Thursday led to the resignation of opposition leader Lodivijek Ascher who was the minister in charge of social affairs in the previous administration.
The government, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has been in power since 2017, on Friday decided to accept responsibility on the back of the scandal and collectively step down.
Rutte, speaking at a press conference, said it would continue to lead the Kovid-19 emergency response with a caretaker position.
The Netherlands was already due to have a new parliamentary election in March, but the government’s resignation comes at a difficult time. According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has a national lockout and has had about 1 million Kovid-19 infections and 12,875 deaths since the onset of the health emergency. The Netherlands also needs to plan how it will re-develop the post-economy epidemic.
Rutte had previously said that a government resignation would not be helpful at this time because the nation needed stability to deal with the epidemic, Politico reported. However, this is not the first time the Dutch administration has resigned collectively to show any general responsibility.
The families involved in the case have filed charges against five politicians this week, including the current finance minister, Wopke Hoekstra.
Given the proximity of the general election, ministers can remain in their roles as long as the electorate is not exposed to the electorate.