New govt formation mediator to address big issues: medical-ethics up next

New government formation mediator Gerrit Zalm plans to address the big issues first in the negotiations. Next week the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie will discuss medical-ethics, a point on which the D66 and ChristenUnie have major differences. Other sensitive issues like climate and migration, points on which previous negotiations collapsed, will also not be left till last, he said in a press conference on Wednesday night, reports.

"At the least you want to arrange all the topics that will later cause a fuss. In addition, the parties want to include the topics in the government agreement that fits the profiling of a new government", Zalm said. "It's my main task to see what potential bumps lie in the way to forming a coalition. Then we can solve that with agreements in the government agreement."

The parties will use the rest of this week to discuss the financial and economic situation in the Netherlands. And social and cultural planning office SCP will present them with the differences in society.

Zalm's plan is to have the party leaders and their seconds meet twice every week day, though speed is not a priority in itself. The new mediator also has a 'holiday' planned for Mark Rutte (VVD), Sybrand Buma (CDA), Alexander Pechtold (D66) and Gert-Jan Segers (ChristenUnie). During the election campaign, election and subsequent over 100 days of formation talks, the party leaders have been through a lot and their families have been "neglected", he said. The negotiations will happen outside of The Hague over two weeks.

The new mediator already stated that he will be frugal with information, like is two predecessors was. He did say that his aim is to not have a book-thick government agreement - at least less than the 100 pages that the Paars II cabinet had, the government in which Zalm was Finance Minister. He also finds it important to look for support from opposition parties. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie together have 76 out of 150 parliamentary seats, giving them the smallest possible majority.