Right wing's refusal to work with left "very hard" to explain, D66 leader says
D66 leader Sigrid Kaag called it "very hard" to explain that the VVD and CDA closed the door to cooperation with the left bloc of GroenLinks and PvdA. "I deeply regret that," Kaag said on Tuesday. VVD leader Mark Rutte and CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra said that they would negotiate with either GroenLinks or PvdA, but not both.
After the D66 victory in the parliamentary election back in March, Kaag repeatedly argued for an as progressive cabinet as possible. She is therefore disappointed that the two right wing parties decided not to work with GroenLinks and PvdA, despite their "historic step" in agreeing to join the talks as one bloc instead of two parties.
"It is very difficult for us to simply see the exclusion of GroenLinks and the PvdA as a logical step," Kaag said. She believes it is now up to the VVD, the largest party, to find a way out of this impasse. She reiterated that the D66 does not see another cabinet with ChristenUnie as an obvious choice.
Rutte and Hoekstra said that they don't see a five-party coalition as a good idea when a four-party coalition is enough for a parliamentary majority. "We have a number of arguments why we do not think that is sensible," Rutte said. According to him, the coalition may be unstable if not all parties re needed for the majority.
The caretaker Prime Minister said that in terms of content, he can work with either PvdA or GroenLinks. "We know what is going on in those parties and will also reach out in the coming years and try to seek cooperation in terms of content. Just not in a five-party cabinet."
Hoekstra said that he is willing to consider "a lot of variants", including a cabinet with the PvdA or GroenLinks. But he finds it "not logical" to govern with more parties than strictly necessary.
According to ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers, a minority coalition of VVD, D66 and CDA seems to be the only way forward. Those three parties already have 72 seats in parliament, convincing four other MPs to support their plans shouldn't be too difficult, he said. He said that the draft coalition agreement drawn up by the VVD and D66 doesn't do enough to tackle "the fundamental inequality" in several areas, and his party is therefore not jumping to be part of that agreement.
Segers believes a minority government won't be the worst idea. "That would be good for open relations between the cabinet and parliament. It could also contribute to a different administrative culture. I hope that negotiations about the content can start very soon," he said. He added that his party will not be a "tolerated partner, no permanent buddy" for the minority government, but the ChristenUnie will adopt a constructive attitude.