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Oct 11, 3:12 AM EDT

Finance Minister Dijsselbloem to leave Dutch politics


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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the 19-country eurozone, is leaving Dutch politics after 12 years as a lawmaker and nearly five as the Netherlands' finance minister.

Dijsselbloem said in a letter published Wednesday on his Labor Party's website that he will leave Parliament later this month, but will complete his mandate, which ends in January, as chairman of the eurogroup.

Dijsselbloem says he no longer has "the firepower" to remain in Parliament as part of the Labor Party's opposition bloc for the coming four years.

Dijsselbloem says in his letter that Labor, "paid the price" at the election for tough austerity measures he pushed through to help the Dutch economy recover from the financial crisis. The party slumped from 38 to nine seats in the 150-seat lower house of Parliament.

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