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The third consecutive cabinet of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been sworn after a record 225 days of negotiations since the March election. His new coalition is set to move the Netherlands further to the right.
The new coalition is made up of Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the leftist-liberal Democrats 66, the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the small faith-based Christian Union party.
The four-party coalition government consists of Rutte, three deputies from each of the other coalition parties who will also serve as ministers, 12 further ministers and eight deputy ministers.
With 76 seats, the four-party coalition has a one-seat majority in the 150-seat second chamber of parliament. The VVD won 33 seats in the March elections and was the strongest party, but its longtime coalition partner, the Social Democratic Workers Party, left the government after suffering historic losses.
The second-strongest party in the March elections was the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) with 20 seats, led by populist politician Geert Wilders. Virtually all the other Dutch parties ruled out any cooperation with the PVV.
The new center-right coalition is expected to focus on tax cuts after years of austerity and measures to contain immigration.
EU Council President Donald Tusk congratulated Rutte. Tusk said he was convinced the bloc's founding nation "will continue playing a dynamic and constructive role in the European Union."
jbh/kms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)