Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mark Rutte

Mark Rutte (born 14 February 1967) is a Dutch politician who has been Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 14 October 2010, as well as Minister of General Affairs in the Rutte cabinet. He is the current leader of the right-wing conservative Liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Mark Rutte previously served as State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment from 22 July 2002 to 17 June 2004 in the Cabinets Balkenende I and II. Subsequently he was State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science from 17 June 2004 until his resignation on 27 June 2006, when he was elected to succeed Jozias van Aartsen as the new VVD party leader.

At the 2006 general election the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy under Rutte lost six seats and he became opposition leader, serving during the Cabinet Balkenende IV. After the fall of the Cabinet Balkenende IV, a snap election was called, and Rutte was once again the VVD's lijsttrekker (top party list candidate) for the 2010 general election. The VVD won the highest number of votes cast, resulting in their occupying 31 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. After a long formation period, Rutte became prime minister and formed a cabinet. When he was sworn in on 14 October 2010, he became the first liberal Prime Minister in the Netherlands in 92 years.

Early Life
Born in The Hague, Rutte attended a gymnasium high school, specialising in the arts, from 1979 till 1985. Although his original ambition was to attend the conservatory and become a concert pianist, he went to study history at Leiden University, where he obtained a MA degree in History in 1992. He combined his studies with a position in the board of the Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy, the youth organisation of the VVD, of which he was chairperson between 1988 and 1991.

After his studies he entered the business world, working as a manager for Unilever and Calvé. Until 1997 he was part of the human resource-department of Unilever and played a leading role in several reorganisations. Between 1997 and 2000 he was personnel manager for Van den Bergh Nederland, a subsidiary of Unilever. In 2000 he became member of the Corporate Human Resources Group. And since 2002 he was director of Human Resources for IgloMora Groep, another subsidiary of Unilever.

Between 1993 and 1997 he was a member of the national board of the VVD. He also served as a member of the VVD candidate committee for the general election of 2002. He was himself elected as a member of parliament in 2003.

Personal Life
Mark Rutte is unmarried. He is a member of the Calvinist Reformed Protestant Church in the Netherlands. He still teaches two hours a week at the The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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