Coalition talks to start with VVD PvdA combo, leaders agree
Talks on forming a new Dutch coalition cabinet began on Friday with party leaders making their positions clear on likely coalitions to mediator Henk Kamp.
Prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters after his 45-minute meeting that, given the results of the election, he suggested Kamp first look at a cabinet involving both the VVD and PvdA.
The VVD and Labour (PvdA) emerged as the big winners in Wednesday’s vote, with 41 and 38 seats respectively in the 150-seat parliament.
Rutte admitted it will be a ‘complicated’ formation process but said ‘the voter has spoken’. During the campaign, Rutte said repeatedly a coalition with the PvdA was a long way off and accused the party of being a danger to the Netherlands.
The differences between the two parties are great, but the Netherlands is in a difficult economic situation, he said. Given that, and the crisis in Europe, it is important to quickly put together a stable cabinet, the caretaker prime minister told Nos radio.
Rutte said other parties could be involved in the coalition, which may also be better for stability and for support in the upper house of parliament. Rutte also repeated earlier statements that he will not support a coalition involving both the PvdA and the Socialist Party.
Labour leader Diederik Samsom also told Kamp he favoured first looking at a VVD PvdA coalition. ‘There needs to be a widely supported idea about how to proceed with this formation,’ he told reporters after the meeting.
Geert Wilders, the biggest loser in Wednesday’s vote, spoke to Kamp for just 10 minutes. ‘I am going to take a tough line in opposing the dreadful policies that are undoubtably on their way,’ he told reporters afterwards.
Support for Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV fell by over 40%.
What stands between the VVD and PvdA
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