Dutch MPs debate coalition formation as process begins all over again

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

MPs are debating the collapse of talks to form a new coalition government on Wednesday morning, as chief negotiator Edith Schippers says her work is done.

Talks between the two liberal parties VVD and D66, the Christian Democrats and GroenLinks broke down on Monday, floored by wide differences between the parties on immigration.

Schippers said in a briefing to MPs on Tuesday that all important subjects had been covered at least once during the 18 days of talks. Preliminary agreements had been reached on some of them, but compromises only become definitive when a deal has been made on the total package, she said.

Parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib met party leaders on Tuesday to discuss the next steps.

During Wednesday’s debate, MPs will also appoint a new chief negotiator and insiders widely expect Schippers to be reappointed. They also expect the small Christian party ChristenUnie to be called to the negotiating table to replace GroenLinks.

However, D66 in particular has difficulties with ChristenUnie’s stance on ethical issues such as euthanasia and that could prove a major stumbling block. A coalition with ChristenUnie would also give the alliance a majority of just one seat in both houses of parliament.

PVV leader Geert Wilders on Tuesday again referred to his willingness to join the talks. His party, he said, is also keen to see a tough immigration policy. ‘We can agree on that within a day,’ Wilders said.

The leaders of the other main parties have all said they will not work with Wilders, who pulled out of a previous coalition, forcing early elections.

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