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Montevideo, July 18th 2024 - 10:17 UTC



Dutchman Rutte becomes sole runner for NATO Chief position

Friday, June 21st 2024 - 20:29 UTC
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After the Romanian President withdrew his candidacy, Rutte will no longer need to take up teaching After the Romanian President withdrew his candidacy, Rutte will no longer need to take up teaching

Dutchman Mark Rutte is poised to become the next Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization next month after Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew his candidacy, leaving the acting prime minister of the Netherlands as the sole runner for the position.

When Iohannis told NATO about his decision, Rutte's election became a formality to take place at the bloc's summit in Washington DC next month. Rutte will be replacing the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, who has headed NATO since 2014. The Romanian leader also said his country would be endorsing Rutte's appointment which was also supported by the once reluctant Slovakia and Hungary.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced Tuesday that he would be standing behind Rutte after NATO's agreement not to engage directly in military activities in Ukraine. Slovak President Peter Pellegrini concurred, which gave the Dutchman a unanimous approval from all 32 members of the alliance.

Rutte was born in The Hague on Feb. 14, 1967, and studied History at the University of Leiden. After working in the private sector, he entered politics in the 1990s as a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

He was State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, and for Education, Culture, and Science, and in 2006 he became a leader of the VVD, being appointed prime minister in 2010, until July 7 last year, when he resigned due to disagreements over immigration policy. Since then, he remained caretaker Prime Minister pending the formation of a new government under a different leadership since the winners of the Dec. 2023 election have not yet managed to form a cabinet.

In October last year, he announced his NATO candidacy, thus contradicting previous statements that he would be taking up teaching. After the Washington gathering marking the alliance's 75th anniversary, Rutte is expected to take over his duties on Oct. 2.

Stoltenberg's term was extended four times due to disagreements about succession. The Ukraine conflict in 2022 saw his tenure extended through September 2023, which got pushed back again at last year’s summit in Vilnius.

Categories: Politics, International.

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