CDA stalwart to lead coalition cabinet talks

19th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 December 2006 (first update)

19 December 2006 (first update)

AMSTERDAM — Christian Democrat CDA stalwart Herman Wijffels has been appointed informateur to chair coalition formation talks between the CDA, Labour PvdA and ChristenUnie.

Wijffels — who is a former chairman of the advisory Social Economic Council SER — is currently employed by the World Bank in Washington.

He was appointed informateur after CDA leader Jan Peter Balkenende, PvdA leader Wouter Bos and ChristenUnie leader André Rouvoet agreed on Monday they wanted to enter coalition talks with each other.
The meeting between the three leaders concluded the work of CDA informateur Rein Jan Hoekstra who had chaired the exploratory talks after the November elections. Those talks determined which parties were prepared to enter coalition talks.
During the initial round of talks, the Socialist SP — which emerged as the big winner from the elections — dropped out of the talks due to large policy differences with the CDA.

The green-left GroenLinks was also unenthusiastic about governing with the CDA, allowing the ChristenUnie to emerge as the likely third coalition partner.

Hoekstra gave his final report to Queen Beatrix on Monday night and the Dutch Parliament will debate the situation on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The CDA, PvdA and ChristenUnie will enter into coalition talks in the New Year.

PvdA leader Bos has made clear he will push for change to the healthcare system, income equality and immigration policy, but has not yet seen any indication of a compromise from the CDA.

Bos also said there are large policy differences between the PvdA and ChristenUnie, such as the small Christian party's wish to reverse the legislated right to euthanasia, gay marriages and abortion — elements of Dutch law championed by the PvdA.

Rouvoet is pleased that all three parties are prepared to enter talks, while CDA leader Balkenende said he quickly wants to establish a stable and decisive cabinet.

New informateur Wijffels said on Monday night he wants to keep a good tempo for the talks, but the speed of negotiations depends on the involved parties.

Hoekstra expects "tough discussions" between the CDA, PvdA and ChristenUnie, but said the parties could establish a new cabinet "in the near future".

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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