After yet more talks, D66 officials discuss next step in coalition process

The parliamentary complex in The Hague. Photo:
All quiet in The Hague? Photo:

Senior officials from Liberal democratic party D66 are meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the next phase in the cabinet formation process, following reports that a continuation of the current coalition now seems to be the most likely option.

On Wednesday, chief negotiator Johan Remkes held talks with nine parties, but the day ended with the VVD, the CDA and D66 leaders discussing the situation with their respective party officials.

No-one would give details when the talks ended, and Remkes left without speaking to reporters. However, commentators say it would now appear that an extra-parliamentary cabinet is off the table, along with a minority cabinet and various options for new coalitions.

The fact that D66, which had opposed the inclusion of minor Christian party ChristenUnie in the coalition talks, has not yet reached a conclusion would indicate that Remkes is steering the parties towards a restart of the current cabinet.

The general election took place six months ago, but the government resigned on mass in January because of its failings around the childcare benefit scandal. A number of ministers, including foreign minister and D66 leader Sigrid Kaag, have resigned since then.

If Kaag and D66 reject the restart, there will probably have to be new elections, and that will only hurt her party’s position, given that the impasse of the past few months and her resignation over the evacuation from Afghanistan, commentators say.

If the four parties do agree to continue in government together, work will now have to start on putting together a new coalition agreement outlining their policies for the coming years.

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