The leaders of the Christian Democrats, Labour and ChristenUnie were due to have talks with Rein Jan Hoekstra – the man charged with putting together the next coalition government – this afternoon, as the formation process enters its next phase.
A three-way coalition with the orthodox CU emerged on Friday as the most likely new cabinet following the withdrawal of the Socialists and GroenLinks’ refusal to get involved.
CU leader André Rouvoet (pictured), who saw his party’s representation in parliament double to six, said at the weekend that ‘medical ethical questions’ were high on his party’s wish-list in the formation talks. The CU is opposed to abortion and euthanasia.
However commentators say Rouvoet is too pragmatic to expect changes on such fundamental issues. Instead he will insist that current laws are strictly observed and there is no further liberalisation.
One subject which could be a stumbling block in the next round of talks is mortgage tax relief. Both Labour and the CU want limits to limit tax breaks for home owners. The CDA, however, has made maintaining mortgage tax relief a condition of its participation in government.
CDA leader Jan Peter Balkenende is believed to want one person to take charge of the detailed negotiations on the next cabinet’s policies. Earlier reports suggested two former prime ministers, Ruud Lubbers (CDA) and Wim Kok (Labour) could take over the process.
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