Pressure mounts on reluctant Labour to join coalition talks

Labour party leader Lodewijk Asscher is coming under increasing pressure to get involved in the ongoing coalition talks, but has again said that the party ‘is not available’ to form a government.

Three core parties – the VVD, CDA and D66 – need a fourth partner to secure majority support in parliament. GroenLinks has twice pulled out of the negotiations, citing disagreements on refugees and migration, and D66 has refused to talk to the small Christian party ChristenUnie. The SP and PVV have also been ruled out as potential partners.

That leaves Labour (PvdA), whose support collapsed at the March 15 general election and which now has just nine seats in parliament. However, Asscher told the AD at the weekend: ‘I too think we need a cabinet. But we want to serve the country as MPs. We are absolutely not going to join the VVD, CDA and D66.’

Last week coalition negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink said all the party leaders had told him they wanted a majority government but that for this to happen, some will have to show they are willing to compromise.

According to a poll by television programme EenVandaag, a majority of Labour voters want Asscher to take a seat at the negotiating table.

Now a number of Labour mayors and local government officials have also joined in.

‘It is in the national interest that we have a strong cabinet,’ Best mayor Anton van Aert told the Volkskrant. ‘GroenLinks cannot join the talks for a third time. So the Labour party has to take responsibility.’