News 14 february — 14:58

Dutch Leader Survives Confidence Vote After Minister Admits Lying About Putin

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte overwhelmingly survived a late-night vote of no-confidence just hours after his foreign minister quit, admitting he had lied about attending a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL reports.

Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned on February 13 after acknowledging before parliament that he had lied about personally hearing Putin speak in 2006 about plans to create a "Greater Russia" in Europe.

Opposition legislators who were outraged about Zijlstra's deception had offered a rare no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament, but it was strongly rejected by 101-43.

In response to legislators' questions, Rutte explained before the vote why he had not informed parliament about Zijlstra's false claims.

"I didn't think this affair would have such a political fallout. I underestimated the impact of this lie," he said.

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