In the Netherlands, the prime minister is in turmoil after deleting text messages from his phone

Hillary Clinton’s email affair led to intrusion on the campaign trail of the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate for the US presidential election. Will the deleted SMS affair cost the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Root, his job? Specifically, the question is whether or not he broke the law by deleting text messages.

“Nokiagate” – as Dutch media call it, referring to the old style Nokia-branded phone used by Mr Rutte – broke out after an article was published in the daily from VolkskrantWednesday, May 18. The Dutch newspaper explains that it discovered this information while seeking access to government communications in 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The prime minister, whose association with the old Nokia device has long stuck to his image as a sober man, defended himself on Wednesday, explaining that he archived all important messages and deleted others in order to free up space.

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“Adhere to the instructions”Dubbed the “prime minister in Teflon” (a highly resistant substance) by the media for his ability to survive scandals, Mr Rutte told reporters. Head of government since 2010 – a record – the 55-year-old liberal has also been baptized “Mr. Silicon” by a daily newspaper: it has the elasticity of rubber and is resistant to temperature changes. It is true that “Makke” Rutte (“Docile”, another moniker) has been able to rule successively with right, center and left over the years. He even managed to lead the country for two years with the tacit support of his far-right rival, Geert Wilders.

In his defence, the Prime Minister stressed that he did not break the Archives Act, and insisted that he did “never intentionally” Hide important works by deleting posts. “I may have misjudged, but mistakes will always be made”he added.

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“I’m not a big fan of smartphones”

According to Dutch Archives Act, some government correspondence must be kept so that we can explain the reasons for making certain choices to the public – including MPs and journalists. explain the problem from Volkskrantis that Mr. Root was the only one who identified text messages that were important enough to be passed on to a government official for archiving.

In 2020, the daily launched the legal procedures for accessing the Prime Minister’s messages, based on a ruling issued the previous year to include SMS and WhatsApp messages in the Archiving Act. However, the newspaper was surprised to receive only letters sent by the Prime Minister to his employees and requesting more information.

“This is the behavior of the prime minister who is frantically trying to prevent transparency”environmental party leader Jesse Claver reacted, adding that he wanted to ask the operator if the text messages could be restored.

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A lawyer representing the Dutch state said that Mr. Rutte had made a file Archive in real time And that there is no reason to suspect a crime.

Prime Minister who is not “I’m not a big fan of smartphones” In his own words, known for his moderation and for riding his bike in The Hague, he explained that he kept his old phone as part of his duties. Small screen [du Nokia] is a defect”he admitted to the press on Wednesday.

He says the thousands of messages Mr Root received slowed down the device, which is why he started deleting some of them.

Meanwhile, his press officers confirmed that he now has a smartphone, because his old phone does not have a network during a visit to the United States.

The world with AFP

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