After 11 weeks Dutch cabinet formation grinds on; Parties to meet today

It's been exactly 11 weeks and five days since the Netherlands' parliamentary election and the country still doesn't have a new government. Formation talks continue today with mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink meeting with the leaders of the VVD, CDA and D66 this afternoon, according to various Dutch newspapers.

On Tuesday morning Tjeenk Willink met with GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers. It seems clear that his plan for the Netherlands' new coalition government is the same as that of previous mediator Edith Schippers - the VVD, CDA and D66 with either GroenLinks or ChristenUnie as fourth party to give the government a majority in parliament and the Senate. 

Neither Segers or Klaver would say much about their talks with Tjeenk Willink on Tuesday. Under Schippers' mediation, negotiations between VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks fell apart after two months of trying. GroenLinks could not agree with the other parties on the topic of migration - specifically an asylum deal with North African countries, similar to the one between the EU and Turkey, according to NRC. 

Attempts to have ChristenUnie join the coalition talks also stalled after Segers and D66 leader Alexander Pechtold concluded that the differences between the two parties are too great. The two parties have been known to clash specifically on medical ethics issues such as assisted suicide and regulated cannabis cultivation. At one point during the election campaigns, Segers compared Pechtold's "radical secular ideology" with radical Islam.

Exactly what will be discussed in this afternoon's meeting is unclear. The fact that VVD leader Mark Rutte, CDA leader Sybrand Buma and Pechtold are meeting with Tjeenk Willink together, seems to suggest that the mediator wants to find out which fourth party has their common preference, according to the Volkskrant.