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Dutch political parties to start talks on extending government coalition

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By Reuters
Dutch political parties to start talks on extending government coalition
Dutch political parties to start talks on extending government coalition   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

AMSTERDAM -Dutch political parties will hold talks on extending their current coalition government, the leader of one of the parties, the D66, said on Thursday, more than six months after an inconclusive election delivered a highly fragmented parliament.

The liberal, pro-European D66 party had been holding out for a different coalition to the one that had existed before the March 17 election but months of talks that focused on who would be allowed to join the negotiations have proved fruitless.

D66 leader Sigrid Kaag said the only alternative now would be another election, resulting in futher delay and possibly no change in the situation. “And that also plays into the hands of populists. So we’re going to negotiate,” she added.

The outgoing coalition, which has governed the Netherlands in a caretaker capacity since the election, comprises Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party, the Christian Democratic CDA, the small Christian Union and the D66.

Rutte, 54, has been in power since 2010 and his party remains the largest in parliament but with just 22% of the vote he needs several junior partners to form a government.

Though the Netherlands is traditionally governed by a majority coalition which typically takes months to form, this year’s post-election talks have been exceptionally difficult as the fractured political landshape made parties reluctant to compromise. Rutte narrowly survived a motion of no-confidence over his actions in the first weeks of the talks.

In the following months, D66 had tried to bring more left-leaning parties to the negotiation table, but was continuously prevented from doing so by the conservative VVD-CDA block.