Green party will not rule out forming new government with current ruling VVD

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and SP leader Emile Roemer could not agree on whether the VVD should or should not be excluded from forming a new government after the parliamentary elections on March 15th. During the first televised debate for the upcoming elections, Roemer called on Klaver to clearly state whether GroenLinks and the VVD would form a coalition. Klaver said he can not rule out that possibility, AD reports.

"I was shocked when you said: I don't rule out that GroenLinks will be in a cabinet with the VVD", Roemer said to Klaver in the RTL Premier Debate at De Rode Hoed on Sunday. SP already ruled out the VVD. Roemer warned of a recurrence of what happened after the 2012 parliamentary elections. In that year former PvdA leader Diederik Samsom told progressive stories before the elections, but pretty quickly teamed up with the VVD afterwards, Roemer said.

On Friday Klaver called on PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher to exclude the VVD, but now he will not do the same, Roemer accused. "You tell Asscher to get off of Rutte's lap, but so that you can get on it", Roemer said.

"I do not exclude [the VVD]", Klaver said. "I do not want to promise something that I perhaps can not deliver." GroenLinks wants to keep the VVD out of the next government, but that may not be possible - a coalition will have to be formed and that may only be possible with the VVD, according to Klaver. GroenLinks will not work with the PVV however, Klaver confirmed.

Before the start, the debate seemed a bit like the leftover-debate, given the absence of PVV leader Geert Wilders and VVD leader Mark Rutte. The leaders of the two biggest parties in the polls withdrew from the debate when RTL invited more than four participants. The debate continued with the five next biggest parties - CDA, D66, GroenLinks, PvdA and SP.

The absence of Wilders and Rutte made the debate no less important for the rest of the participants. Sybrand Buma of the CDA, Alexander Pechtold of D66 and Klaver and his GroenLinks are neck-on-neck in the polls. Roemer and Asscher are somewhat behind the other three, and are scrambling to increase their popularity with the voters. All five these party leaders made no secret of the fact that they want Rutte and his VVD out of the next government. Above all the party leaders tried to show themselves worthy as Prime Minister.

Asscher played the role of a conciliator - "Everyone has to step beyond his own views." He spoke in a quiet tone, acted calmly and managed to force the other party leaders into the role of listener, according to the newspaper. Even in a one on one debate with Buma, he focused on "our similarities". "I'm looking for connection, the Netherlands does not want politicians telling each other what they've done wrong."

Pechtold portrayed himself as the responsible leader. He accused Buma of not helping during the past four years of necessary cutbacks, measures which Buma refused to support. "When it came down to it, you were not there. We took the responsibility", he said. Buma responded: "I'm proud that we did not help the government in the backroom, because the measures you supported were not so great."

In Wilders and Rutte's absence, Buma tried to position himself as a more respectable alternative to the VVD and PVV, talking about issues those two parties tend to focus on, AD reports. In terms of asylum: "We can not continue to take in more and more asylum seekers, even if we wanted to. Our country is under too much pressure, people rightly complain about it." And on immigration: "I think Islam is no enrichment to our society."