Mark Rutte has faced unusual political and public pressure after it was revealed that he had been deleting text messages on official matters for years. Critics accuse him of hiding government activities, but he says the messages simply took up too much space on his old-fashioned Nokia phone.
Rutte survived a vote of no confidence in parliament on Thursday over deleted text messages, but opposition parties are calling for further investigation. There were also questions about whether his use of an old phone could jeopardize national security.
According to the “Open Government Law” of the Netherlands, all communications of employees of departments must be preserved and archived. Journalists can request the uploading of such messages. Which they did in relation to Rutte as part of an official request.
The fact of deleting the messages was discovered by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, which made a request for official correspondence data: Journalists have the right to do so, according to the “Open Government Law”. As a result of the investigation, it turned out that Rutte deleted some messages immediately after reading them. According to the Prime Minister, he sent important SMS messages to the state archive.
Rutte has been using the Nokia 301 for many years as his main work phone. He also has an iPhone on which the Prime Minister views the news. He finds it big and uncomfortable. Experts on the contrary object. In their opinion, the use of such a simple phone can also threaten the state security of the country.
Among the missing messages are a message from Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsem about the Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020, whose attendance was ten times higher than expected, and a message from Unilever CEO Paul Polman about a controversial tax issue.
Rutte has been Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010, and Nokia 301 has been listed as a working phone for more than eight years. But Rutte is not going to change the Nokia 301.
Mark Rutte is a Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands since October 14, 2010, leader of the right-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (since 2006).