Cabinet formation adviser aiming for a breakthrough in coalition talks
Cabinet informateur Mariëtte Hamer is trying to force a breakthrough in the currently stalled Dutch cabinet formation talks, newspaper Volkskrant reported. Hamer was set to meet the leaders of the six biggest parties on Friday at 4 p.m. to further discuss coalition options, with three main scenarios currently on the table.
The first option is for VVD, D66, CDA, PvdA, GroenLinks and ChristenUnie to begin preliminary negotiations together, insider sources told the newspaper. That includes a broad group of six parties spanning from left wing to right.
In a second scenario, Mark Rutte (VVD) and Sigrid Kaag (D66) would come together to write a draft coalition agreement and see which parties will consider jumping on board. The third option suggests Rutte could work on the draft agreement by himself, with the same purpose.
The latter two scenarios are particularly unusual. The last time the winner of the election submitted a draft coalition agreement was in 1994. Queen Beatrix tasked PvdA leader Wim Kom with developing a coalition agreement by himself when when the two most obvious coalitions no deal could be reached between PvdA, VVD and either D66 or CDA. The tactic led to Kok's first Cabinet, comprised of PvdA, VVD and D66.
Hamer's proposal to have Rutte make the first move for a coalition agreement this time will likely not be received with enthusiasm, the newspaper suggested. In 1994, attempts had already been made at substantive talks. Three months after the election, that has yet to happen in 2021.
The VVD and CDA indicated they want to work with a maximum of four parties, but ruled out working with PvdA and GroenLinks together. Those two left-wing parties are ready to have talks with the VVD leader but only as a left-wing duo. D66 is leaning more towards a five-party coalition with VVD, CDA, PvdA and GroenLinks. Furthermore, working with ChristenUnie appears to be no longer an option for D66.
The expectation is that party leaders will not express a preference on Hamer’s three options on Friday afternoon, but rather take more time to consider them. At the beginning of next week, they will be invited again by the informateur to provide more clarity behind closed doors.
In the previous stage of the formation talks, parties were largely able to agree on short-term recovery plans to help the Netherlands out of the coronavirus crisis. Hamer is expected to submit her final report next week, after which a public debate will follow in the Tweede Kamer.