Dutch coalition talks poised to restart with a clean slate

The Dutch parliamentary complex in The Hague. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Negotiations on forming a new Dutch government got off to a fresh start on Wednesday, with a new chief negotiator who says he wants ‘a clean slate’ to begin with.

Hermann Tjeenk Willink, who has been involved in three coalition processes in the past, met his predecessor Edith Schippers on Tuesday morning to discuss the negotiations so far.

Tjeenk Willink has a reputation as tough negotiator and commentators say he is likely to demand more of the parties seeking to form a coalition than Schippers.

MPs debated the latest situation in the formation process on Tuesday and NOS correspondent Joost Vullings said it is clear that most prefer the idea of a majority cabinet.

This means that GroenLinks and ChristenUnie are likely to be considered once again, Vullings said.


Schippers had attempted to form a coalition between the ruling VVD, the Christian Democrats, Liberal democratic party D66 and the left-wing green party GroenLinks. However, wide differences over immigration policy led to those talks collapsing.

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said during Tuesday’s debate he is willing to talk again, provided no conditions are slapped on the negotiations.

According to the NRC, GroenLinks offers the only realistic option of forming a majority cabinet.

D66 has also refused to work with ChristenUnie because of the two party’s wide differences on ethical issues.

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