Friday’s talks on forming a new government in the Netherlands ended in the afternoon with Geert Wilders leaving without talking to reporters after describing the negotiations in the morning as “extremely tense”.
The four parties have agreed not to speak about progress and the issues they are discussing in public, but pressure is mounting as the deadline for reporting back to parliament nears.
The formation process has been ongoing for over two months with little obvious progress and parliament is supposed to debate the situation before the February 16 spring recess.
Lead negotiator Ronald Plasterk had pledged to brief MPs at the beginning of February but the former minister told reporters on Friday he was “interpreting this broadly”. It remains unclear when his report will be sent to parliament.
Last weekend, tensions emerged between the four parties after tit-for-tat sneers between VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz and Wilders on social media.
Nevertheless, Yesilgöz told reporters on Friday that the talks are “good” and that she has “good hope” for a successful conclusion. BBB leader Caroline van der Plas said she did not feel under any pressure and that she was confident Plasterk would meet his deadline.
But according to broadcaster NOS the fourth party in the talks, Pieter Omtzigt’s NSC, has “serious doubts” behind the scenes about the way the negotiations are progressing.
The party has said from the beginning it backs the establishment of a cabinet comprised mainly of outside experts who are not connected to any particular party.
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