No movement on coalition talks, Rutte backs continuing current coalition

Mark Rutte talks to reporters. Photo: Lex van Lieshout ANP
Mark Rutte talks to reporters. Photo: Lex van Lieshout ANP

The weekend’s crunch cabinet formation rethink has failed to produce any results and the six parties involved in the discussions are no nearer a solution, party leaders have told chief negotiator Mariette Hamer.

VVD leader and prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters after meeting Hamer at the parliamentary complex that nothing had changed for him, despite a weekend of phone calls and hard thinking.

Hamer had told the six parties – VVD, D66, CDA, ChristenUnie, PvdA and GroenLinks – to use the weekend to discuss with each other how to end the stalemate.

Rutte said he still wanted to see a four party coalition as soon as possible but declined to go into more details about the process. He is known to prefer that the current coalition – VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie – should have a second term.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Lilianne Ploumen criticised the VVD and CDA for refusing to countenance a coalition with the PvdA and GroenLinks. ‘I am ready to talk, together with GroenLinks, but the two right-wing parties are blocking this, without really giving a reason,’ she said.

D66, however, is keen to work with GroenLinks and the VVD rather than the ChristenUnie.

If the option of letting the six parties work it out for themselves fails, Hamer has two other options. She can ask D66 and the VVD to write a coalition accord between them, or ask the VVD to draw up one on its own. It would then be up to other parties to join in or not, on the basis of the plans.

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