Cabinet formation talks break down: Right wing won’t work with left
Right-wing parties VVD and CDA refuse to negotiate a possible coalition agreement with left-wing GroenLinks and PvdA, labor party leader Lilianne Ploumen said after meeting with VVD leader Mark Rutte, CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra, GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver, and informateur Mariette Hamer on Tuesday, NOS reports.
The VVD and CDA repeatedly indicated that they were not eager to form a coalition with both left-wing parties. According to the right-wing leaders, having both parties in the coalition would make it unstable. Only one of them is needed with the VVD, CDA, and D66 for a parliamentary majority and Rutte and Hoekstra therefore don't see why a five-party coalition is necessary when a four-party coalition would do.
The two left-wing parties have been firm in their commitment to rule together or not at all. The parties worry that left-wing plans will be drowned by the two right-wing parties if only one of them is in a coalition. The PvdA is also still smarting from the losses it suffered after ruling with the VVD in the Rutte II cabinet. To try and appease the right-wing concerns, GroenLinks and PvdA offered to join the coalition talks together as one bloc, instead of as two parties with two sets of negotiators. But apparently this was not enough for VVD and CDA.
The VVD would like the next cabinet to have the same composition as the current Rutte III cabinet - VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie. But the D66 is reluctant to work with the ChristenUnie again, D66 leader Sigrid Kaag said. The D66 wants to take steps in the medical ethical field, like allowing euthanasia at the end of a full life. The ChristenUnie is vehemently against this. Which is a main reason proposals in this field have largely stranded during the Rutte III regime. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers also said that Kaag's attitude does not make him feel welcome.
On Tuesday afternoon, a discussion is planned for the three parties who have not excluded each other yet - VVD, D66 and CDA. A regularly mentioned possibility is that the three parties should just form a minority government together, and then rely on opposition support to pass their proposals.
The cabinet formation process has been dragging on for 24 weeks and there is still no prospect of a new cabinet. The winners of the parliamentary election, which was held on March 17, were the VVD (34 seats) and D66 (24 seats). It seemed logical to include both big parties in a new coalition as the simplest way to get to a majority, also since they worked well together in the Rutte III coalition. But now it seems they want to go in opposite directions.