Dutch government collapses after Labour withdrawal from coalition

Row over extension of Dutch troops’ tour of duty in Afghanistan forces Labour out of Jan Peter Balkenende’s ruling coalition

David Batty
Guardian [UK]

The Dutch government has collapsed over disagreements on whether or not to extend troop deployment in Afghanistan.

The prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, said the Labour party – the second-largest party in his coalition government – was quitting.

Balkenende has been weighing up a request from NATO for Dutch troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2010.

Just under 2,000 Dutch personnel have been serving in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, where 21 Dutch soldiers have been killed.

Balkenende’s Christian Democratic Alliance wanted to keep a trimmed-down military presence in the region but the Labour party has demanded the Netherlands sticks to a scheduled withdrawal.

The article continues at the Guardian.

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