Party leaders meet in The Hague as cabinet-making process starts

Farmers party leader Caroline van der Plas arrives for the talks by tractor. Photo: Remko de Waal ANP

Party leaders are meeting parliamentary chairwoman Vera Bergkamp on Friday morning to start the formation process – the negotiations that should result in a new coalition government. 

The meeting, at 10.30 in parliament, will be used to assign a verkenner – the person who will kick start the talks to assess what parties could form possible coalitions. Geert Wilders, as leader of the biggest party, has the biggest say in who this should be. 

Kees van der Staaij, the former leader of fundamentalist Protestant party SGP, has been tipped as a likely candidate.

A combination of the PVV, centre-right BBB, NSC and VVD would seem to be the most likely option for a new cabinet, although the other three parties all have reservations about working with the far right party.

Caretaker ministers will also hold a cabinet meeting at the same time, and justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz and climate minister Rob Jetten will join that discussion after talking to Bergkamp. 

The electoral council, Kiesraad, will make the finalised results of the election public on December 1 and on December 5 the old parliament will stand down. The new MPs will be sworn in on December 6.

Around that time too, the verkenner will report back to parliament on the outcome of the initial talks. MPs will also elect a new chairman of the lower house. 

Once a potential coalition has been identified, informateurs will be appointed to work with the prospective partners and hammer out a coalition agreement. Only once that process has been completed – which can take months – will ministers be appointed and the Netherlands will have a new administration.

Some commentators suggest this could happen relatively quickly because a right-wing government is the most logical option. But others suggest the VVD and NSC in particular are deeply divided at working with Wilders at all. 

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