Cabinet fall shocks global media

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The fall of the Dutch government has made headlines around world, featuring prominently on many websites including those of the BBC, al-Jazeera and CNN.

Many newspapers, including Belgium's De morgen, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, France's Le Monde and El País in Spain, are carrying extensive articles on the cabinet collapse. Italian daily La Repubblica speaks of a "serious defeat for the young centre-right politician", a reference to Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, 53, who is 20 years younger than his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi.

The paper points out that Mr Balkenende's predecessor, Labour Prime Minister Wim Kok, was also forced to resign over a military mission. Mr Kok's government, his second, fell in 2002 following a damning report about the fall of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where Dutch NATO forces had failed to prevent the slaughter of an estimated 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The Italian daily foresees an "uncertain political future" amid fears "of the rise of Geert Wilders' populists against the background of ongoing tensions between the Dutch population and Muslim immigrants".

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