The coalition government of right-wing liberal VVD and Labour was well aware it would not have a majority in the senate, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp told Nos radio in an interview on Tuesday.
The government has been under fire since the election in September last year for not including at least one other party in the coalition to ensure a senate majority.
Kamp told the broadcaster neither the Christian Democrats or the left-wing liberals D66 wanted to join the coalition. ‘A situation arose that this was the cabinet that could be put together,’ he said.
The senate’s role is to scrutinise legislation and make suggestions for changes, but not to vote it down. However, the Christian Democrats, in particular, made it plain from the start of this cabinet period they would not automatically back government plans in the senate.
They, in turn, have been criticised for turning the senate into an opposition party.
Kamp also spoke about the coalition agreement, saying: ‘The current agreement is the starting point for the coming time. In the first year of this cabinet we have achieved a great deal and we will try to continue on the same lines for the next three years.’
Dutch governments run for a set four-year period, unless there is a collapse in confidence in parliament.
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