Party leaders tight-lipped as Dutch coalition talks restart

Image of Dutch parliament. Photo: Sisyfus via Wikimedia


Talks on forming a new Dutch coalition government restarted on Tuesday but there was no apparent breakthrough and the parties have again been given a time-out to assess their positions.

The leaders of the two liberal parties VVD and D66 plus the Christian Democrats met chief negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink but declined to comment on the subject matter. ‘It is all extremely complicated,’ prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte said after the meeting.

No talks are planned for Wednesday, to give the party leaders time to assess their positions and consult their advisors, broadcaster NOS said.

NOS correspondent Ron Fresen said that the underlying relationships between the parties had not improved over the holiday weekend, despite informal conversations between the leaders.

Earlier, Tjeenk Willink met the leaders of GroenLinks and ChristenUnie. The two parties are the only realistic partners to form a four-party coalition with the VVD, D66 and CDA.

However, both parties were part of earlier negotiations which failed: GroenLinks pulled out because of divisions over immigration while D66 opposes ChristenUnie on ethical issues.

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said last week he is prepared to form a government with the other parties but that there are wide gaps between them in some policy areas. ChristenUnie has said it will only rejoin the talks if all three other parties, including D66, support its presence.

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