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Dutch PM offers resignation after austerity talks collapse

world Updated: Apr 24, 2012 01:02 IST

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tendered his government's resignation to Queen Beatrix on Monday after the collapse of a parliamentary partnership with a far-right party.

"Prime Minister Mark Rutte has offered his cabinet’s resignation to her Majesty Dutch Queen Beatrix," the government information service said in a statement.

"The Queen is considering the resignation, but has asked all ministers and deputy ministers to continue to do everything that is necessary in the interests of the kingdom," the statement added.

The resignation has been widely expected since the weekend when Rutte acknowledged that his government’s rift with anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders' Freedom Party would likely lead to early elections, otherwise due in May 2015.

Although not part of the ruling coalition, Wilders' party had effectively guaranteed the government's majority for the last 18 months by agreeing to support it in parliament. That arrangement came to an abrupt halt at the weekend when talks about a new package of austerity measures foundered.

Wobbling Support
The Dutch crisis flared at a time of wobbling support for the EU fiscal pact.

The Socialist frontrunner to win the French presidential election runoff next month, Francois Hollande, has promised to renegotiate the agreement. This has alarmed financial markets, which fear he could throw the EU's commitment to fiscal discipline into question, although his aides say he will not try to pick the treaty apart.