Prime minister Mark Rutte has denied the coalition has agreed to form an alliance with the fundamentalist Christian party SGP in the upper house of parliament, or senate.
The minority cabinet made up of Rutte’s conservative Liberal VVD and the Christian Democrats already has an alliance with the anti-Islam PVV to ensure economic policy can pass through the lower house.
But at last week’s provincial elections, the alliance fell one seat short of a majority in the upper house. The SGP, which opposes votes for women and regards homosexuality as a sin, has one seat.
Rutte said the coalition has not made any agreements on support in the senate and but said there are some common policy areas with the SGP . ‘It is a trustworthy party and there is a lot of hope and happiness within it,’ the prime minister is quoted as saying.
One of the first acts of the new government last year was to announce plans to tighten up Sunday trading laws, even though the VVD had opposed new controls during the campaign. The move was widely seen as a gesture to the SGP by the coalition, which only has a majority of one in the lower house.
The SGP, which believes the country should be run according to Biblical principles, said immediately after last week’s vote that it had no intention of allowing the government to fall ‘for the sake of it’.
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