Dutch ruling coalition loses majority in parliament

FILE PHOTO: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte attends a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in The Hague, Netherlands, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

The Dutch government on Monday lost its majority in parliament when a previously dismissed member of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party said he would keep his seat as an independent.

MP Wybren van Haga was dismissed by his party last month for failing to cut ties with his real estate company, which in 2018 was found to have breached rules on renting out properties.

Van Haga had subsequently not made it clear whether he would stay in parliament or return his seat to the VVD.

“I have decided to keep my seat”, he told Dutch TV programme Een Vandaag on Monday.

Rutte’s four-party coalition now holds 75 seats in the 150-seat lower house, meaning it will have to find support from opposition parties for legislation to pass.

This has effectively already been the case since March, when the coalition lost its majority in the upper house, the Senate.