Parliament to debate new government agreement Thursday
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie presented its plans for the Netherlands for the coming years on Tuesday, 209 days after the parliamentary election In March. The Rutte III government is expected to take office in two weeks. Opposition parties have Wednesday to read through the agreement, and on Thursday they wil debate in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of parliament, the Volkskrant reports.
On Thursday formation mediator Gerrit Zalm will answer questions about the formation process in the Kamer debate. And the opposition will go at the new coalition parties for the first time. This will also give the new government an idea of what topics they will face in parliamentary debate in the coming years.
After this debate, Zalm will step down as mediator and the process enters a new phase. Rutte will be appointed as mediator and he will appoint his cabinet. According to previous reports, this cabinet will have 16 Ministers and 9 State Secretaries. The four parties will nominate their own candidates, who will all meet with Rutte. Background checks will also be done. According to the Volkskrant, Rutte is expected to take his time with this, because the Tweede Kamer is on autumn break next week and therefore can't debate the matter.
The Rutte III government is expected to officially take office in the week of October 23rd. King Willem-Alexander will swear in the new Ministers and State Secretaries and the official board photos will be taken at the palace. This is King Willem-Alexander's first time swearing in a new government. When Rutte II took office in 2012, his mother Beatrix was still queen.
The team of Ministers and Secretaries will then go to the Tweede Kamer, where Prime Minister Rutte will give a statement and immediately debate it with the opposition.
The Rutte III government now officially holds the record for the longest government formation process in Dutch history. The previous record holder was the Van Agt government, that took 208 days to form in 1977. Wednesday is the 210th day since the election, and it will still be a week or two before the Rutte III government takes office.