The Dutch government collapsed Friday because of irreconcilable differences within the four-party coalition about how to rein in migration, a divisive issue that has split nations across Europe.
The resignation of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the longest-serving premier of the nation, means the country will face a general election later this year. Rutte and his government will remain in office in a caretaker capacity until a new ruling coalition is chosen.
ANP quoted sources as saying Rutte’s fourth coalition government collapsed as it was unable to agree how to limit the number of asylum seekers in the Netherlands, after three days of tense negotiations.
Requests for comment from Rutte’s office went unanswered on Friday evening.
A push by Rutte’s conservative VVD party to limit the flow of asylum seekers to the Netherlands split his four-party government coalition, as two junior parties refused to support his proposals.
Tensions came to a head this week, when Rutte demanded support for a proposal to limit entrance for children of war refugees who are already in the Netherlands and to make families wait at least two years before they can be united.
Asylum applications in the Netherlands jumped by a third last year to over 46,000, and the government has projected they can increase to more than 70,000 this year - topping the previous high of 2015.