The leaders from the three parties involved in forming a new Dutch government were set to meet at the prime minister’s Cathuis official residence (pictured) in The Hague on Monday afternoon. Negotiations between the coalition partners are now nearing an end.
On Friday, a spokesman for Herman Wijffels, the man coordinating the talks, said the parties expect to have reached broad agreement on new cabinet policy by the end of this week. This includes deals on controversial subjects such as mortgage tax relief, state pensions and health service reforms, sources told ANP.
The Christian Democrats, ChristenUnie and PvdA (Labour) have been in discussions on forming a new cabinet since the beginning of January following the general election on November 22. The three party leaders – Jan Pieter Balkenende (CDA), André Rouvoet (CU) and Wouter Bos (PvdA) – have also set aside Wednesday and Thursday for talks. They hope to report back to their MPs on Friday.
Meanwhile the Liberals (VVD), who will form the biggest opposition party in parliament, say they aim to be constructive once the new government has been finalised. ‘We will not be on a collision course from day one,’ party leader Mark Rutte said at the VVD congress on Saturday.
‘We will not automatically vote against everything which is included in the coalition agreement.’ The VVD has been in government for the past 12 years and its 22 MPs are inexperienced in the role of opposition.
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