The right-wing VVD and Labour party (PvdA) aim to form a stable new government as quickly as possible, VVD leader Mark Rutte and the PvdA’s Diederik Samsom told MPs on Thursday.
The two parties emerged as the big winners in last week’s general election and have taken the lead in forming a new alliance.
Speaking during a debate after 150 MPs in the new-look lower house of parliament were sworn in, both Rutte and Samsom said the focus is now on a two-party coalition. Political pundits had expected a third party could be brought in to bridge the gap between left and right.
Other party leaders also pointed out that the VVD and PvdA had been at loggerheads during the campaign and were now putting on a show of friendship. Rutte, who had called the PvdA a danger to the Netherlands, replied by saying Labour is putting the national interest above that of the party.
‘This means that you can go for the VVD in one area and Labour in another,’ Rutte said.
The Financieele Dagblad said earlier the coalition could be completed in a matter of weeks.
Both parties want to draw up an agreement that sketches general strategy and positions but which allows individual ministers to develop detailed policies.
The VVD and Labour both want a speedy formation process so they can amend parts of the 2013 budget agreement, the paper states. Although Labour has now accepted the rise in value-added tax to 21%, both parties want to change the proposed tax on travel expenses, the paper says.
Sources have told the FD the VVD wants to focus on strict agreements on the budget deficit, public safety and reducing the tax burden.
Labour wants to focus on education, innovation, reforming the housing market and healthcare as well as ensuring the government books balance by 2017.
A number of names have already been mentioned as potential ministers. The FD says VVD ministers Ivo Opstelten (justice), Edith Schippers (health), Henk Kamp (social affairs) and Melanie Schultz (transport) are likely to return to the cabinet.
Labour parliamentarians Mariette Hamer and Jette Klijnsma are among PvdA potential ministers, the paper says.
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