What now? editorials speculate about the next coalition moves

The collapse of talks on a right wing government dominate Saturday’s newspapers, with much analysis of what went wrong, and what will happen next.

‘All for nothing’ is the headline in the Volkskrant, next to a large photograph of a serious-faced Maxime Verhagen. After endless ‘talking, investing and smelting’, the formation has failed.
Everyone now expects Labour to become part of the coalition, the paper says in an analysis of the failure, pointing out Wilders referred to himself three times as preparing for ‘my role as leader of the biggest opposition party’.
Labour won 30 seats in the June general election, the PVV took 24.

It was a simple sum to do, the paper said. The right wing coalition would have controlled just 76 of the 150 seats in parliament so continuing with the talks had become too big a risk.
Wilders had been forced to make a lot of concessions during the formation talks so far, and if any of the three dissident CDA MPs defected, the coalition would collapse anyway. That was the reason he demanded a cast-iron guarantee the three would support the coalition agreement, no matter what.
In its editorial, Trouw says the idea of a minority cabinet with Wilders’ support was an unsavoury one. ‘Wilders would have then been able to enjoy the influence without having to carry any of the responsibility for government,’ the paper says.


But now the formation has now taken so long, it is time for unconventional options, it continues. And allowing Mark Rutte to draw up a coalition accord and then look for support from other parties could be the way forward.
But if that fails as well, then it could be time to find a cabinet with much looser ties to parliament. The cabinet negotiator could look for his own people to form a cabinet in which party colours are irrelevant and draw up his own coalition agreement.
The Telegraaf’s front page headline states simply ‘Rutte demands the main role’, pointing to the VVD leader’s stated wish to take over the formation process. On page three the paper says that ‘the left is celebrating its new chance’.
Hard ball
And in it’s editorial the paper says the failure of the talks can be placed at the door of two parties. The CDA does not have its own house in order and it is bizarre that after weeks of talks, a number of MPs suddenly announce they are against an agreement with the PVV.
And PVV leader Wilders has played very hard ball, the Telegraaf continues. His demand that the dissident MPs gave a written guarantee they would agree to the coalition accord, whatever it contained, was very tough and possibly legally untenable. ‘He took a risk and will now end up in opposition. The future will show if his demand was sensible or not.’
A combination of the VVD, CDA and Labour is now the likely next option, the paper says. And that means all the parties will have to let go of some things contained in their election manifestos. After all, that is part of the political game.
It will be particularly tough for Labour, but the party can no longer walk away from its responsibilities, the editorial concludes.

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