Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has resigned after the dramatic collapse of his coalition government.
Leaders of the four party coalition had been locked in late night meetings on Wednesday and Thursday in an attempt to strike a deal over migration policy.
However, Mr Rutte, who is the country’s longest-serving premier, announced that the differences between the coalition partners were “irreconcilable”.
“That is why I will immediately… offer the resignation of the entire cabinet to the king in writing,” he told reports in The Hague on Friday night.
“It is no secret that the coalition partners have very different views on migration policy.
“And today, unfortunately, we have to draw the conclusion that those differences are irreconcilable.”
Mr Rutte and his government will remain in office in a caretaker capacity until a new ruling coalition is chosen – though opposition parties have called for immediate elections.
The leader of the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Mr Rutte has been the Dutch prime minister since 2010.
His current coalition government, the fourth he has led, took office in January 2022 following the longest coalition negotiations in Dutch political history.
Migration policy has been a divisive issue between the four parties.
Mr Rutte’s VVD and the Christian Democrat Appeal party (CDA) support tougher measures on migration, but the centre-left Democrats 66 (D66) and Christian Union (ChristenUnie) do not.
They had reportedly discussed the idea of creating two classes of asylum – a temporary one for people fleeing conflicts and a permanent one for people trying to escape persecution – and reducing the number of family members who are allowed to join asylum seekers in the Netherlands.
During provincial elections earlier this year, a populist pro-farmer party put Mr Rutte’s party into second place, a result which heaped further pressure on Mr Rutte’s premiership.
Elections to the lower house of the Dutch parliament are set to take place later this year.