The four parties involved in talks to form a new Dutch coalition met for the last time on Wednesday, ahead of a two-week break.
After marathon sessions on Monday and Tuesday, the leaders of the VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie got together for a final meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
The party leaders have been reluctant to talk about progress. Prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte said as he arrived at Wednesday’s talks: ‘I hope that today we can count on going away for a few days. We are working hard.’
Christian Democrat leader Sybrand Buma would only say on Tuesday evening that the talks will resume after the two week break. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold told reporters: ‘we will work hard on Wednesday and then see what happens next’.
According to the NRC, chief negotiator Gerrit Zalm may give a press conference on Wednesday evening to outline the state of play.
Talks between the four parties have so far run for three weeks, after the left-wing green party GroenLinks dropped out.
The Netherlands has been without a new coalition since the March 15 general election. The previous administration’s ministers will remain in a caretaker role until a new government is formed.
With the 2018 spending plans due to be delivered on the third Tuesday in September, ministers are now working on a holding budget to keep the country’s finances ticking over until a new coalition has been put together.
The longest formation process in modern Dutch parliamentary history was in 1977 when it took 208 days to form the first Van Agt-led government.
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