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Building a dutch coalition

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
The complex business of building a workable Dutch coalition
The headline in the New York Times said it all: "Geert Wilders falls short as wary Dutch scatter their votes."
Amsterdam (dpa) - The populist leader is for the present out of contention for a role in any new Dutch coalition. It is clear from sentiment in The Hague and the Dutch press that Prime Minister Mark Rutte is the man of the hour and will play the dominant role in the process.
Geert Wilders on the 16th of May 2017.

But those scattered votes spell trouble for Rutte. "It will take some time, I believe," he told Dutch radio on Thursday before the final votes had been counted.

"It is likely to be a complex coalition formation. You will see parties sitting down with each other for a number of weeks."

The next step is for an "informateur" to be appointed - a senior and respected elder statesman or stateswoman who will scout out the possibilities. Where the monarch used to have a role, parliament has taken over since 2012.

The process is not clearly defined, but in general the leader of the largest party - Rutte in this case - is called on to be "formateur" and asked to seek out potential partners.

If all goes well, this formateur is then the future prime minister.

All does not always go well. The process of forming a workable government took 54 days in 2012 and 127 in 2010. More than six months - 208 days - were needed in 1977.

The party leaders are reported to have scheduled a meeting Thursday with the chairperson of the lower house, Khadija Arib, to decide on how to proceed, but it is likely to be days before any progress is reported.

Rutte, whose liberal pro-market VVD has 33 seats, needs at least three partners to secure the 76 seats needed for a bare majority.

He has categorically ruled out Wilders. "No, never, no," he told the country in a pre-election televised debate.

Candidates include the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the centrist D66, both with 19 seats. But that leaves him five seats short.

His former partner, the Labour Party (PvdA) is on nine seats, but the severe setback it received in falling from 38 seats in 2012 means it is likely to retire to the opposition benches to regroup.

Green Left and the Socialists (SP), both on 14 seats, seem unlikely partners, as do the leftist Christian Union and the strongly environmentalist Party for the Animals, each with precisely the five seats that Rutte needs.


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(21.03.2018 17:54)

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