Mark Rutte still has ‘strong preference’ for a majority cabinet

Photo: Maarten Hartman

Prime minister Mark Rutte has told reporters it is still to early to talk of forming a minority cabinet, despite the breakdown of talks with the left-wing green party GroenLinks.

‘We have only researched one majority cabinet,’ he said. ‘A majority government remains my preferred option.’ Negotiations between Rutte’s VVD, the Liberal democrats D66, the Christian Democrats and GroenLinks broke down for the second time on Monday.

Nevertheless, Rutte said, involving ChristenUnie, the Labour party or the Socialists in the talks would all raise questions that need to be answered.

The SP, for example, have refused to talk to the VVD, D66 won’t form an alliance with D66 because of divisions on ethical issues and the Labour party says its electoral losses rule it out of government. All the main parties have ruled out talking to the anti-Islam PVV, which came second in the March vote.

Rutte declined to say which would be his preferred option or comment on the dispute between D66 and ChristenUnie. ‘Nothing I could say will help the situation,’ he said.

The prime minister urged other party leaders to stop thinking about next year’s local elections. It is in the national interest that a cabinet is formed as soon as possible, he said.

The Netherlands has been without a government since the March 15 general election.

Both Rutte and CDA leader Sybrand Buma met chief negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink for talks on Wednesday. More talks are on the agenda for Thursday.

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