It's been exactly 11 weeks and five days since the Netherlands' parliamentary election and the country still doesn't have a new government. Formation talks continue today with mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink meeting with the leaders of the VVD, CDA and D66 this afternoon, according to various Dutch newspapers.
There's been seemingly no movement in the Dutch government formation talks over the past weeks. On Tuesday new mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink is meeting with GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers, ANP reports. Either party could be the fourth party that will give the coalition engine of VVD, CDA and D66 a majority in parliament and senate.
VVD leader and current prime minister Mark Rutte is open to restarting government formation talks with the 'engine' of VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, but only if green leader Jesse Klaver is willing to come to the table without setting any conditions in advance. Klaver sees no point in continuing the negotiations if the VVD and CDA are not willing to compromise on the immigration and asylum seekers policy, NU.nl reports.
After weeks of "only" being the VVD leader at the government formation talks, current Prime Minister Mark Rutte now seems to be taking the lead in attempting to pull the negotiations out of their current impasse. On Wednesday he had one-on-one meetings with D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and CDA leader Sybrand Buma, AD reports.
Edith Schipers, the mediator in the Dutch government formation talks, plans to contniue exploring to find the best way to form the new Dutch government, despite the current impasse. She asked the party leaders to keep themselves available for meetings on Friday, Schippers reported to Tweede Kamer presidend Khadija Arib on Wednesday, NU.nl reports.
The D66 will not accept the invitiation to talk with the VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie on forming a government together, the party announced during the early hours of Wednesday morning. A failed discussion with the ChristenUnie on Tuesday showed that the two parties can't bridge their differences and further negotiations "would not be sensible", the party said, according to ANP.
Christian party CDA and democrats D66 called on socialist party SP to join them and liberal VVD in negotiations to form a new Dutch government together. During the election campaign SP leader Emile Roemer insisted that his party will not work with the VVD.
CDA leader Sybrand Buma called on Roemer to get off the sidelines, in the parliamentary debate about the failed formation attempt between the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks on Wednesday. "Have the guts to start the negotiations", he said in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, NU.nl reports.
After 61 days of negotiations, talks to form a new Dutch ruling cabinet fell apart on Monday, according to a press release from Edith Schippers. "It has not worked out; the talks have ended," Schippers said at the beginning of a press conference announcing the news.
Nearly nine weeks after the election, the parties differences were simply too great, she added. Attempts at forming a policy to handle migrants to the Netherlands proved to be the last straw. The parties were also far apart on issues related to climate change, energy sustainability and income she said.
The CDA is causing annoyance at the government formation negotiation table because party leader Sybrand Buma is saying 'no' to almost every proposed climate measure, sources around the negotiations told newspaper AD.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander turns 50 years old today. A number of political party leaders took a moment to wish him a happy birthday. "It only gets better [after 50]", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said to RTL Nieuws.
"I would like to congratulate him on his 50th birthday. And everyone around him too, of course", SGP leader Kees van der Staaij said to the broadcaster. "I want to wish him a lot of wisdom. For what can a king use better than wisdom? I especially hope that he stays who he is."
After a week of government formation negotiations between the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, it is still uncertain whether these four parties will manage to form a cabinet together. "There is absolutely no prospect of a result on any subject. We are not close to that phase yet", negotiation leader Edith Schippers said in a press conference on Thursday, NU.nl reports.
The first formal and substantive negotiations for forming a government with the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks start at 9:30 this morning. The parties will try to find common ground and make agreements on a number of major issues, including employment, income distribution, the tax system, the energy transition and the environment, security and defense, immigration and integration, education and healthcare, NOS reports.
After talking with all 13 elected party leaders on Monday, "coalition scout" Edith Schippers will be meeting with the leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks today to discuss a possible coalition, RTL Nieuws reports.
After all of the larger parties' leaders gave their coalition wishes through to coalition scout Edith Schippers, it is clear that the CDA, D66 and VVD are all willing to work together. A fourth party will be needed to give the coalition a majority, and the most likely candidates seem to be GroenLinks and ChristenUnie. So far the PVV hasn't been mentioned in any ideal cabinet, except on the PVV's own wish list. Leader Geert Wilders called it "undemocratic and unmarketable" if his party is not part of the coalition negotiations, the Volkskrant reports.
VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte would like to form a cabinet consisting of his VVD, the CDA and D66, he said on Monday after discussing coalition possibilities with Edith Schippers. "Given the election results", these parties need to take governmental responsibility, he said, but added that "it also depends on what the parties themselves want", NU.nl reports.
After a night of celebrations or condolences following the parliamentary election on Wednesday, the Dutch political party leaders are gathering in parliament to discuss the election results and start the massive task of creating a new government. GroenLinks party leader Jesse Klaver thinks it will be "difficult" to for his party to form a coalition party with the VVD, the biggest party after the election, but he is willing to consider it, the Telegraaf reports.
Many of the political party leaders already cast their votes in the parliamentary election in the Netherlands this morning. D66 leader Alexander was the first party leader to do so. He voted in his hometown of Wageningen, NOS reports.
According to Pechtold, today is an exciting day. "There are four parties that can become the biggest and of those the D66 is the most progressive", he said to the broadcaster. He plans to hand out some more flyers during the day.
Thirteen party leaders clashed on Tuesday night in the final election debate on NOS, the last chance for the party leaders to sway voters before the election. Topics ranged from income inequality to Dutch identity. And after an entire election campaign of being calm and being nice, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher went on the attack, NU.nl reports.
On Saturday party leaders Alexander Pechtold (D66), Sybrand Buma (CDA), Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), Mark Rutte (VVD), Geert Wilders (PVV) and Emile Roemer (SP) debated policy, explained what topics they find important and played games on kids TV show NOS Jeugdjournaal.
The debate was done by means of a quartet. Each party leader could chose a theme and a topic, such as "healthcare" and "costs". And then they could briefly and simply explain what they find important on that topic.
SGP party leader Kees van der Staaij brutally attacked the D66 and its leader Alexander Pechtold in the Christian debate in Ede on Thursday. Van der Staaij compared Pechtold's "radical secular ideology" with radical Islam, BNR reports.
The Christian party leader debate in Ede on Thursday evening was guarded by heavily armed police officers due to a "threat". The debate in the CineMec finished without incident, AD reports.
Several police units responded to the CineMec on Thursday night. Heavily armed officers stood in front of the building, two riot police vans were on site and policemen with machine guns and bulletproof vests were on the building's roof, according to the newspaper.
Left- and right wing parties clashed fiercely over the retirement age, healthcare deductibles and the Dutch identity in the televised debate between eight party leaders in the Carré in Amsterdam on Sunday. With only 9 days to go until the parliamentary election, party leaders are pressured to create some movement in the polls, which have been quiet over the past weeks.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and SP leader Emile Roemer could not agree on whether the VVD should or should not be excluded from forming a new government after the parliamentary elections on March 15th. During the first televised debate for the upcoming elections, Roemer called on Klaver to clearly state whether GroenLinks and the VVD would form a coalition. Klaver said he can not rule out that possibility, AD reports.
Broadcaster RTL decided to go through with the "Premier debate" later this month despite the VVD and PVV refusing their invitations. RTL initially decided to cancel the election debate after Geert Wilders and Mark Rutte said they wouldn't participate. But a massive outcry from viewers and other political parties made them change their mind.