Mark Rutte became the longest serving Dutch Prime Minister on Tuesday. The 55-year-old politician, who heads a four-party government coalition led by the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), has been in power for 4,311 days. He became prime minister in October 2010 and has been re-elected three more times.
The previous record belonged to Ruud Lubbers, the leader of the Christian Democratic Consolidation (CDA) who was the head of the Dutch government from Nov. 4, 1982 to Aug. 22, 1994.
During his nearly 13-year tenure, Rutte has experienced close to a dozen scandals and domestic political crises, earning him the nickname “Teflon Mark,” as he was able to bounce back from every attack and emerge stronger.
Throughout his political career, he has concluded coalition agreements with parties across the political spectrum. During its first government, the VVD formed a minority government alongside the CDA with the support of the anti-Islam Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders.
Rutte said a few weeks ago that leading a country is “the greatest job in the world… I feel I’m halfway into the distance,” he jokingly remarked at the time.
According to analysts, the fragmentation of the Dutch political system also helped Rutte to stay in power for so long.
The popularity of the prime minister and his party, which is also considered a great political survivor, is constantly decreasing, but the VVD remains the most popular party.
In the European Union, his time in office is second only to Viktor Orbán, who served as Hungarian prime minister from 1998 to 2002 and continuously since 2010. He is now approaching the 6,000-day mark.