Big Dutch cities go for ‘broad coalitions’ following fragmented council votes

In both Rotterdam and The Hague, where populist parties topped the results in last month’s local elections, local leaders are pinning their hopes on broad coalitions to form new city administrations. In Amsterdam and Utrecht, the left-wing greens have the upper hand while Eindhoven is split along clear left-right lines.

Here’s a summary of the coalition negotiations in the five big cities so far.

Rotterdam

In Rotterdam, populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam, wants to set up a ‘broad coalition’ including the VVD, D66, GroenLinks and Labour. Such an alliance would control 31 of the 45 seats on the city council and would ‘do justice’ to the election results, according to Leefbaar leader Joost Eerdemans.

However, the Labour party has already said it will not join an alliance involving Leefbaar, partly because of its links with Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy. D66 has also said the link between Leefbaar and FvD makes it tricky to work together. FvD supported Leefbaar during the election campaign.

D66, the CDA and Leefbaar form the outgoing Rotterdam coalition.

The Hague

In The Hague, the surprise win by populist Groep de Mos, founded by former PVV parliamentarian Richard de Mos has muddied the waters considerably.

De Mos has appointed Hans Wiegel, a VVD stalwart, to try to put a coalition together and Wiegel has also said he will go for a broad alliance involving De Mos, the VVD, D66 and GroenLinks.

GroenLinks has already said such an alliance is unlikely because of the right-wing bias. The Hague’s current coalition is a five party group made up of D66, PvdA, Haagse Stadspartij, VVD and CDA.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s GroenLinks leader Rutger Groot Wassink is pinning his hopes on a coalition with D66, Labour and the Socialists.

While GroenLinks was the big winner in last Wednesday’s vote, the other three parties all lost a considerable number of seats. Nevertheless, Groot Wassink told the paper he did not consider this to be a problem.

‘A vote for a party which lost is as valuable as one for a party that won,’ he said. The pro-animal PvdD, which like the Socialists has three seats on the city council, is not invited for the formation talks because of differences about tackling inequality, Groot Wassink said.

Amsterdam has been ruled by a coalition of the VVD, D66 and the SP for the past four years.

Utrecht

Like Amsterdam, GroenLinks overtook D66 to become the biggest party and has also called for an alliance with D66, Labour and the SP.

While Labour and the SP have already said they are happy to join such a coalition, local D66 leader Klaas Verschuure had said he favours the VVD ahead of Labour and the SP.

Utrecht is currently run by a four party coalition: D66, GroenLinks, VVD and SP.

Eindhoven

In Eindhoven the VVD and GroenLinks both emerged from the vote with the same number of seats and both have appointed their own coalition negotiators.

But the VVD has already said it is prepared to work with the left-wing greens, possibly in combination with D66 or the Christian Democrats.

Eindhoven’s current administration is a combination of the PvdA, D66, SP and GroenLinks.


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