Dutch parliament debates state of coalition talks
The Dutch parliament is coming back from its summer recess to debate with chief negotiator Ruud Lubbers on Wednesday afternoon about the prospects of a minority cabinet. The debate was requested by Democrat leader Alexander Pechtold with the support of the Labour Party, Green Left and the Socialist Party.
Mr Pechtold argues that Mr Lubbers failed to carry out his brief by initiating negotiations about the possibility of a coalition involving the conservative VVD, the centre-right Christian Democrats and the far-right Freedom Party. He was asked by Queen Beatrix to investigate the possibility of forming a majority coalition.
Former prime minister Ruud Lubbers, a Christian Democrat, says that after initial talks with the party leaders he was on the point of giving up but Job Cohen and Femke Halsema, leaders of the Labour Party and Green Left, "encouraged" him to investigate the right-wing option.
He believes the left-wing leaders thought this was bound to fail and they would have the field to themselves and he warned them "be aware that this could actually succeed".
Then, he says, he lost control of the proceedings. The VVD, Christian Democrat and Freedom Party set their own agenda and came up with the concept of a two-party minority coalition with parliamentary support from the Freedom Party. This construction is intended to circumvent the distaste many Christian Democrats and members of the VVD have expressed about a coalition with Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic party.
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