The conservative VVD, the Christian democratic CDA and the populist Freedom Party - or PVV – intend to start negotiations on a right-wing minority cabinet including the VVD and CDA supported by Geert Wilder’s PVV.
VVD leader Mark Rutte said on Friday evening that he, CDA leader Maxime Verhagen and Mr Wilders believe such a cabinet would be viable. Mr Rutte made his remarks after the three leaders had reported their findings regarding this week’s informal preliminary talks to negotiation leader Ruud Lubbers. The three had been engaged in talks on the possibilities of political cooperation since Monday. They had already reported back to their own parties on Friday afternoon.
Mr Wilders said he was ‘extremely happy’ with the latest developments: “It could work”. The PVV leader said it would be fantastic for the Netherlands if a right-wing minority cabinet were formed. Mr Wilders indicated that the stability of a minority cabinet would depend on the reliability of the ‘supporting’ party. “We will prove ourselves to be a reliable partner and not withdraw our support on points included in the coalition agreement”.
CDA leader Verhagen said he trusted that a minority VVD-CDA cabinet supported by the PVV would result in a stable coalition. He said it was clear there were differences of opinion between the CDA and PVV on issues such as Islam and freedom of religion, which was one of the reasons negotiations were focussing on a minority cabinet because a coalition including both CDA and PVV proved impossible.
Mr Verhagen also said he was convinced that the current negotiations could lead to a coalition agreement which would do justice to the CDA principles regarding the freedom of religion and of education. The two parties would “not seek to conceal, but rather accept each other’s differences”, the CDA leader said.
Rutte probably new negotiation leader
Negotiation leader Ruud Lubbers will now present his report to Queen Beatrix who is expected to appoint VVD leader Mark Rutte as the new negotiation leader. Rutte, the leader of the largest party, will then lead the negotiations with the CDA and PVV. On Monday, Mr Lubbers will invite the seven other party leaders to discuss the implications of the latest developments.
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the democrat party D66 has requested a parliamentary debate with Mr Lubbers arguing that negotiations on a minority cabinet fall outside the negotiation leader’s original remit.