Tensions are rising between the four parties currently in talks on forming a new government, and some commentators are now suggesting far right leader Geert Wilders could be steering them towards collapse.
According to the Financieele Dagblad “the PVV and VVD have broken the wall of silence around the talks to sneer at each other”, while the Telegraaf says there are “concerns about Wilders’ flirtation with new elections”.
“Everyone may be sticking to the radio silence in front of the cameras, but social media messages, gossip, and what people are saying away from The Hague are leading to doubts and irritations between the PVV, NSC, BBB and VVD,” the AD said in its analysis.
Meanwhile, radio station BNR interviewed two political campaign experts who suggested Wilders did not want the talks to succeed. “There is a major likelihood that the talks will break down and if that happens, everyone needs a believable ‘exit’,” Jurjen van den Bergh from campaign bureau De Goede Zaak told the broadcaster.
At the weekend, Wilders placed a message on social media which hinted at the PVV’s priorities in the negotiations. “I hope we can manage it so that new elections are not necessary,” he signed off.
Wilders also posted a tweet criticizing VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz, and describing her as “sour”. Yesilgöz for her part told the VVD party conference on Saturday that “if you are expert enough at sending angry messages out into the world, you can win an election,” in a thinly veiled reference to Wilders’ social media habits.
Wilders himself on Monday admitted that the talks are under considerable pressure. “There is a lot at stake and the negotiations are tough,” he told reporters ahead of the day’s talks. “I can’t make things better than they are and we will see what happens.”
The weekend tit for tat between Wilders and VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz is just one issue facing the four right-wing parties and divisions over the finances pose a major obstacle to any agreement, observers say.
Pressed by reporters on Monday, negotiation leader Ronald Plasterk admitted that the potential coalition’s finances are a “complicated” issue. “There needs to the prospect of an agreement and that is naturally the big question when it comes to the money,” he said.
The formation process has been ongoing for over two months with little obvious progress. Plasterk has pledged to brief parliament on his progress in early February.
The AD reported on Monday that the right-wing parties PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB would vote down any plans that committed the government to extra spending while the talks are ongoing.
The question of balancing the finance highlighting the division between the VVD and NSC, parties that advocate strict fiscal responsibility, and the PVV, which wants to keep public spending high by slashing funding in areas such as culture and aid.
Financial experts warned last autumn that the government will need to find €17 billion in spending cuts to offset the effect of higher interest rates and budget for the effects of an ageing population, climate change and global instability.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation