By Toby Sterling AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Wim Kok, a former Dutch prime minister who helped forge the country's famed consensus-based politics and oversaw pioneering legalizations of euthanasia and gay marriage, died on Saturday of heart failure. Kok, who was 80, led two centrist coalitions between 1994 and 2002, overseeing a period of recovery and then of strong economic growth. Kok, a labor union leader earlier in his career, was one architect of the country's famed "polder", or consensus model, in which unions agreed to pay restraint in exchange for more jobs, while employers and the government guaranteed support and retraining after layoffs. As prime minister he reined in spending on healthcare, pensions, education and child benefits, using the savings to promote employment. In a world first, euthanasia was legalized in the Netherlands in 2002, formalizing decades of practice. Though Denmark had first legalized gay partnerships in the 1980s, the Netherlands followed in 1998 and became the first to erase any distinction between same-sex and other marriages in 2001. Kok was friends with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and then-U.S. president Bill Clinton as they crafted the moderate center-left "Third Way". "Shaking off ideological feathers is not a problem only. For a political party like ours, it's also a liberating experience," Kok said of steering Labour toward the political center. Prime Minister Mark Rutte praised Kok as someone who "stood above political parties." Kok was "totally reliable, totally upright, and always focused on solutions," Rutte said in a statement. Internationally, Kok was strongly pro-European, helping to seal European economic and monetary union at the Amsterdam summit in 1997. BOSNIAN WAR His political career ended in two dramas. Shortly before pivotal 2002 elections, his entire cabinet resigned over the role the Dutch military played as U.N. peacekeepers in Bosnia. A study by the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies found Kok's first cabinet blundered badly by sending Dutch troops to defend Srebrenica, a U.N.-declared safe zone, during the Bosnia War. Outmanned and outgunned, the Dutch battalion did not fight to defend the enclave when battle-hardened Bosnian Serb forces stormed it in 1995. The Dutch looked on helplessly and even helped separate women from men and boys as the Bosnian Serbs prepared to slaughter 8,000 Muslim civilians in the worst mass murder in Europe since World War Two. Kok said in a recent interview the failure would haunt him forever. "That book will never be closed," he said. "For many people and for some that goes more intensely than for me. But it also weighs on me." After Kok's resignation in April 2002, as his caretaker government prepared for elections, the Netherlands suffered its first political assassination of the post-World War Two era. Pim Fortuyn, the first of a new generation of Dutch populists, had declared the Kok years a "disaster" due to the country's liberal immigration policies. Fortuyn was gunned down by an animal rights activist. That ushered in an era of political instability and a debate on immigrants, integration, and Islam that dominated Dutch politics for the following decade, and continues to the present day. After leaving office, Kok served on the boards of Royal Dutch Shell and ING, among others, and lobbied unsuccessfully for a European Constitution. He is survived by his wife, Rita, and three children. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Adrian Croft)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
- Madame Noire
Candace Owens Rips Alec Baldwin Apart In A Series Of Scathing Tweets About His Accidental Shooting Incident: ‘What Has Happened To Alec Would Be An Example Of Poetic Justice’
Candace Owens is back again in headlines for her unwarranted two cents and this time, Alec Baldwin is the culprit.
The 24-year-old head armorer of Alec Baldwin's movie 'Rust' told a podcast she 'almost didn't take' her last job because she wasn't sure if she was 'ready'
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, told podcast she almost turned down the head armorer job in a recent project due to self-doubt about her experience.
Jennette McCurdy Talked About The "Intense" Abuse From Her Mom, Who Would Perform Breast Exams On Her And Not Let Her Shower Alone
"It was like walking a tightrope every day."View Entire Post ›
- USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma won at Kansas, but the performance dropped the Sooners two spots to No. 4 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll. Georgia stayed No. 1.
- The Daily Beast
Max Mumby/Indigo/GettyNow that it has been revealed—24 hours after the event—that Queen Elizabeth II has spent a night in hospital and was not, as the palace press corps were informed, “resting” at Windsor Castle, there are complaints that, once again, the messaging is bad and making the situation worse. For sure, trying to conceal the hospital visit just raises the question: what else is not being revealed? And, inevitably, it renews speculation about whether the Queen will finally have to give
- Touchdown Wire
A massive storm is pushing into California. Just in time for "Sunday Night Football."
Brian Laundrie's remains, discovered at a Florida nature reserve on October 21, will be cremated and given to his parents.
Her majesty has a long list of future successors.
- The Daily Beast
NBCColin Jost opened the Halloween edition of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” with the “most haunting image” he saw this past week. No, it wasn’t Kanye West in his creepy white mask, he joked: “Sorry, Ye, he goes by Ye now. Even though no one looks at this and goes, ‘Yay!’”He was actually talking about Steve Bannon, “former White House, I want to say garbage man,” who was held in contempt of Congress this week for avoiding a subpoena in the Jan. 6 investigation. “But this is what Bannon w
- Who What Wear
And how to style it in five different ways.
- Men's Health
Gym footage shows what happened when Thor tested out his hook on unified lightweight world champion Teófimo López
- College Football News
After another wild week of college football, what will the Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY possibly look like? It's our prediction and best guess on what the latest rankings will be after Week 8.
- LA Times
The Dodgers made a hefty financial commitment starting in 2020 to make the Dodgers a perennial World Series contender, but will they continue to pay out?
- NBC Sports
An appearance from Heart's Ann Wilson brought it all up a notch.
- ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports
In June 2019, Rams coach Sean McVay gave quarterback Jared Goff a $33.5 million contract. Nineteen months later, McVay gave Goff a one-way ticket to Detroit, with an extra first-round pick tucked into the trade package to unload the deal that McVay had quickly come to regret. So what happened when McVay called Goff to [more]
Poulter is preparing to play a Marvel superhero in the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."
Collin Morikawa has already won two majors in his fledgling pro career, but the 24-year-old American managed a new first at the PGA Tour's Zozo Championship on Saturday.
- Atlanta Black Star
‘Income Earned During the Marriage Are His Separate Property’: Robert De Niro Won’t Be Splitting His $500 Million Fortune with Estranged Wife In Divorce Settlement, Court Decides
Robert De Niro won’t be breaking the bank as his long-standing divorce proceedings come to a close. The Hollywood A-lister can release a sigh of […]
These 5 items are facing shortages or higher prices. Here’s where you can actually buy them affordably right now
The shortages are due to a variety of issues, such as shipping delays, transportation issues, labor shortages and more. “Many industries are affected, from cars to construction to consumer packaged goods,” says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com. This is due to shipping issues around wood pulp, which is used to make toilet paper, Bloomberg notes.
Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool ran riot against Manchester United to lead 4-0 by half-time at Old Trafford on Sunday before the Egyptian added a fifth early in the second half.