Henk Kamp, currently caretaker social affairs minister, has been given the task of making preparations to start the formation of a new coalition government, following yesterday’s election.
Kamp, a minister for the right-wing Liberals who won 41 seats in the poll, will lead talks with the leaders of all parties represented in the new parliament with the aim of appointing an informateur – who will lead the negotiations to put together a new alliance.
Kamp’s job was previously done by queen Beatrix, but earlier this year parliament voted to remove the monarch from the formation process.
Financieele Dagblad correspondent Leon Willems points out that Kamp is a good choice as middle man because as minister he is at home in all the issues where the VVD and PvdA disagree, such as social security, redundancy law and pensions.
Parliamentary chairwoman Gerdi Verbeet held individual talks with the various party leaders on Thursday afternoon, including Henk Krol of 50+, a new party which won two seats in the election.
Labour leader Diederik Samsom after the talks. Photo: WFA
Both VVD leader Mark Rutte and Labour’s Diederik Samsom declined to give any firm details to reporters after leaving the meeting. Rutte said he would keep ‘radio silence’.
The narrow win over Labour in the general election means the VVD and the social democrats will almost certainly be forced to join forces in the next government, possibly with a third or fourth party to bridge the gap between left and right.
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal democrats D66, which is tipped as a likely third party, told reporters his party would be prepared to play a role in the next government if necessary.
MPs will debate the formation process next Thursday after the new MPs are formally installed, when Kamp will also report back on the progress so far.
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The need for speed