Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives on his bike in front of the Cabinet at the Binnenhof in The Hague.
Rymco de Walla | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images
LONDON – The entire Dutch government resigned on Friday after a scandal involving mismanagement of childcare funds pushed thousands of families into financial hardship.
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. Some Dutch lawmakers described the event as an “unprecedented injustice”.
The revelation led to the resignation of opposition leader Ludwijk Asher, who was the minister responsible for social affairs in the previous administration, on Thursday.
The government led by Prime Minister Mark Root, who has been in power since 2017, decided on Friday to accept responsibility and relinquish the position collectively over the scandal.
At a press conference, Root said she will continue to lead the emergency response to Covid-19 with caretaker status.
New parliamentary elections have already been scheduled in the Netherlands in March, but the government’s resignation comes at a difficult time. According to Johns Hopkins University, the country is in national lockdown and has had nearly 1 million Covid-19 cases and 12,875 deaths since the health emergency began. The Netherlands also needs to prepare a plan on how to renew the economy after the pandemic.
Politico newspaper reported that Rutte previously said that the government’s resignation would not be helpful at this time because the nation needs to stabilize to deal with the pandemic. However, this is not the first time that a Dutch administration has resigned en masse to show shared responsibility.
The families involved in the case brought charges against five politicians this week, including the current finance minister, Wobke Hoekstra.
And as the general election approaches, ministers may end up staying in office until voters head to the polls.
“Defensor profissional da cultura pop. Guru zumbi. Ninja do café. Fã dedicado das redes sociais. Analista incurável.”