"Everything went wrong". Scandal with family allowances leads to resignation of the Government of the Netherlands

After the scandal involving thousands of families falsely accused of fraud in the payment of allowances was known, Mark Rutte's executive ended up resigning, despite the fact that the Prime Minister initially expressed the opposite intention. The Government will now be in management until the March elections.

Mark Rutte

The Dutch executive resigned this Friday, following the scandal involving the persecution of that country's tax authorities to alleged fraud in the application for family allowances in situations of mere administrative errors in their submission. The decision was announced at a press conference and was expected, given the tension it generated in the coalition that led the Government.

Mark Rutte, the executive's leader, acknowledged that “everything went wrong” in this case.

"Innocent people have been criminalized, their lives have been destroyed and the House [of Representatives] has been incorrect and incompletely informed about the matter," said Rutte in his resignation speech.

Although the prime minister was reluctant to dissolve the current governmental solution, a four-party right-wing coalition, it has become evident in recent days that government partners would not accept to remain in office, recognizing that the scandal policies would have to be assumed.

Thus, general elections will be held in March, with Rutte's party, the Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), still standing out in the polls. This is despite this controversy, but also the unpopular confinement measures that the Netherlands had to adopt recently.

The decision to move on to resignation was also pressured by the attitude of the former minister of social affairs during the initial period of these investigations by the tax authorities, Lodewijk Asscher. The current opposition and labor leader had already abandoned his party's leadership on Wednesday.

Rutte also made it known that he has no intention of resigning as leader of the VVD.

The Government of the Netherlands was shaken by a report released last December that pointed to more than 26 families wrongly accused of fraud in the application for child benefit. Of these, more than 11 are dual nationals, which suggests a disproportionate focus on foreign citizens living in the country.

The accused families were forced to restore the amounts of social benefits that had been paid to them, and in many cases the situation forced these citizens to sell their homes, even leading to personal bankruptcies and divorces.

The executive will now be in charge of the country, which is in a delicate situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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