Sunday 20 June 2021

SER chairwoman Mariëtte Hamer set to lead coalition talks

Photo: Angeline Swinkels

Mariëtte Hamer, a former Labour MP and the current chairwoman of the government’s SER advisory council, will lead the next round of coalition formation talks, websites and RTL said on Tuesday evening, following reports in the AD newspaper.

Hamer will be given the job of putting together a new cabinet, now that the outgoing negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink has concluded there is enough common ground to form a new coalition.

According to RTL commentator Frits Wester, the appointment of Hamer would go against Tjeenk Willink’s advice to seek a negotiator who is not too closely involved with national politics.

However, others point out that as chairwoman of the Social and Economic Council, Hamer deals with unions, employers and lay members. The SER is the government’s most important advisory body on social and economic issues.

The VVD and D66 both made gains in the March general election, while Labour remained steady with 10 MPs. The Christian Democrats, who are also part of the outgoing cabinet, lost support.

By opting for a member of the Labour party as negotiator, ‘the VVD and D66 are giving a clear indication that they would like to have the PvdA in a new cabinet,’ Wester said.

The SER website describes Hamer, 62, as a strategic bridge builder and says that ‘negotiating forms the common thread throughout her career.’ She has chaired the SER since 2014.

MPs are due to debate the formation process so far on Wednesday, when Hamer will also be formally appointed, the websites say.

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