Former education minister Arie Slob has been brought in to try to form a new council administration in The Hague after the last coalition collapsed in a dispute over power sharing with Richard de Mos.
The VVD party group withdrew its support last week after the left-wing parties in the coalition, Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks, rejected a plan to accommodate De Mos by appointing an extra alderman or including his party in budget negotiations.
De Mos’s party, Hart voor Den Haag, is the largest group on the city council with nine seats, but he was shut out of the coalition talks because he and his party colleague, Rachid Guernaoui, were being investigated for corruption.
After the pair were acquitted in April at the end of a four-year trial, De Mos asked the other parties to open talks to discuss ways to include him in the city’s government.
D66, the largest coalition party, favoured holding cross-party talks, while the VVD and Christian Democrats were also in favour of working with De Mos’s group, but PvdA and GroenLinks refused. The VVD then pulled out, saying it was not prepared to “abandon our democratic principles”.
Slob, who led the ChristenUnie party from 2011 until 2015 and was appointed education minister in 2017, is available after wrapping up negotiations to form a provincial administration in Zuid-Holland province, where the farmers’ party BBB are heading a coalition with the VVD, CDA, PvdA and GroenLinks.
He is the second member of Mark Rutte’s last cabinet to try to broker a deal in The Hague, after former medical care minister Bruno Bruins was unable to find a compromise before the VVD quit the council coalition.
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