Rutte to return to parliament this month
2 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Junior Education minister Mark Rutte will step down this month to take up his new position as political leader of the Liberal Party (VVD) in parliament.
2 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — Junior Education minister Mark Rutte will step down this month to take up his new position as political leader of the Liberal Party (VVD) in parliament.
An opinion poll by TNS Nipo for RTL News suggests that the VVD under Rutte could win 33 seats at the next election. This is four more than in a poll on Wednesday evening published immediately after Rutte beat Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk in the VVD leadership race. And it is six more than the 27 seats the Liberals have in the 150-seat Dutch parliament.
The name of the person who will replace Rutte as minister in charge of higher education has yet to be announced. It is expected to be someone from outside the VVD parliamentary party.
Rutte will step down after steering legislation on student rights through parliament. MPs will begin considering the bill next week. In order to re-enter the VVD parliamentary party Rutte is required to replace a sitting MP. It is expected he will substitute MP Ruud Luchtenveld, who is leaving to become an Alderman in Amersfoort.
A former human resources manager for Unilever, Rutte was a junior minister in the Social Affairs Ministry from 22 July 2003 to 17 June 2004. He was elected to parliament in January 2003 following the fall of the Balkenende I cabinet. He was appointed junior Education minister on 17 June 2004.
His main task as political leader (Lijsttrekker) is to lead the Liberals into the general election in May 2007.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news