Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte During the Pandemic

The Hague, March 18 (AFP/APP): Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has long relied on an unflashy, managerial style, and never more so than during the coronavirus pandemic.

But while it may not set political pulses alight, it has achieved the extraordinary feat of winning a fourth term in office after nearly a decade in power.

It’s coupled with a public image of a “Mr Normal” that he reinforced by riding his trademark bike to vote in election on Wednesday.

Accused by opponents of lacking vision, Rutte must now however find a way to help rebuild the Dutch economy after the coronavirus pandemic. “Rutte has very intelligently played his role as leader of the nation, as the crisis manager,” Koen Damhuis, a political expert at the University of Utrecht, told AFP.

“He has really tried to minimise political conflicts while saying we are in this crisis together — but of course with him as leader. And that has borne fruit.”

Rutte’s career appropriately started out not as some political activist but as a human resources manager with Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever. That included a stint at its peanut butter division, Calve, and appears to have contributed to the smooth style he affects while running coalitions.

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