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, told reporters on Wednesday morning he first plans to talk to the leaders of the five parties which have been involved in the talks 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 his predecessor Edith Schippers.
‘I want to hear how the party leaders themselves view the situation,’ Tjeenk Willink said. ‘My job as negotiator is not to speculate.’ He also said he would ask party leaders to look beyond the next four years because ‘major issues’ cannot be solved in a single coalition agreement.
Tjeenk Willink said he cannot say how long he thinks the formation process will now take. ‘You cannot rush, but you cannot waste time either,’ he said. Schippers had said she hoped a new coalition would have been finalised before the summer recess in July.
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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