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‘A safe pair of hands’: Dutch PM emerges as NATO chief front-runner



Experienced, well-connected and a skilled negotiator and communicator — these are just some of the attributes NATO’s largest member states have used to describe outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as they back his bid to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as the next secretary-general of the world’s largest military alliance.

Having led several Dutch coalition governments over the past 13 years, the 57-year-old has accumulated a wealth of experience, diplomatic skills and contacts both in Europe and across the globe, and is known as a pragmatist who is well aware of the importance of trans-Atlantic ties.

But while he is the front-runner for the job, Rutte’s appointment is still far from secure as about a third of the alliance’s 31-member states have reportedly yet to back the Dutchman, with Hungary even saying publicly that it “cannot” support his bid.

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