Thursday 18 August 2022

Cabinet negotiator to meet right-wing leaders again after criticism

Cabinet negotiator Ruud Lubbers is to hold new talks on Tuesday with the leaders of the three parties hoping to form a right-wing minority cabinet: (VVD), Maxime Verhagen (CDA) and Geert Wilders (PVV).

Lubbers said he would meet them for a second time after other party leaders heavily criticised his decision to back the formation of a minority CDA VVD cabinet which would rule with the help of the anti-Islam party.
The three parties had been expected to begin formal negotiations this week. They have already agreed to make spending cuts totalling €18bn over the next four years.


André Rouvoet, leader of the orthodox ChristenUnie said after his talks with Lubbers on Monday: ‘This is the worst possible outcome of this preliminary negotiation round – A PVV which has no responsibility but which can make or break the cabinet. And that at a time of crisis.’
And Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal democrats D66, said Lubbers should stick to the rules.
He had been commissioned by queen Beatrix to find a stable, majority cabinet. But the option chosen is ‘not stable, has no majority in the senate, is not going to reform and looks bad abroad,’ Pechtold told reporters.
VVD leader Rutte said in Monday’s Telegraaf other coalitions are no longer an option. He and accused Labour leader Job Cohen of being the ‘midwife of a right-wing government’ for refusing to enter talks with the CDA and VVD.
Within the CDA there is growing unhappiness about the role of leader Maxime Verhagen, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday. In particular CDA officials are unhappy at the ‘meagre haul of compromises’ Verghagen has won in return for agreeing to join talks on forming a right-wing cabinet.
After winning praise for refusing to join such talks earlier because of Wilders’ anti-Islam stance, Verhagen has now agreed to ‘accept’ the differences in meaning with the PVV about Islam. At the same time, Wilders will still be free to say what ever he likes about Islam and Muslims, the paper points out.
And because the coalition will only have 76 seats in the 150-seat parliament it will take just one dissident MP to pull the cabinet apart, it says.

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