Dutch queen calls for possible liberal, far-right coalition
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands Saturday called for a possible government coalition between the liberals and a far-right party, after this week's tight election, the palace said.
The queen, as head of state, asked for "looking into in the first instance the possibility of forming a coalition government with participation by the biggest party and the biggest winner" in Wednesday's general election, the royal press service said in a statement.
The polls plunged the Netherlands into shock as the far-right anti-Muslim Party for Freedom (PVV) secured third place and gained 24 seats in parliament compared with nine seats in the outgoing legislature.
Mark Rutte's Liberal VVD party was on top with 31 of the 150 seats in parliament followed by the Labour Party (PvdA) with 30 seats.
The head of the liberal party in the upper house of parliament, Uri Rosenthal, who has been charged by the queen to sound out the political parties with the aim of forming a new government, is expected to examine a coalition with the far right-wingers but also other possibilities, his spokesman Henk Brons told AFP.
"No party has a majority in parliament, which means a coalition is necessary to obtain a majority and govern the country," said Aernout Nieuwenhuis, a professor of constitutional law at Amsterdam University.
He added that "ideally" Rosenthal would return to the queen with his recommendation on which coalition would be the best for the country.
Negotiations are expected to take weeks, if not months.
Meanwhile PVV chief Geert Wilders is under 24-hour protection because of his party's controversial policies, which include an end to immigration from Muslim countries as well as a ban on new mosques and the Koran.
He is known abroad for his 17-minute commentary, "Fitna", which was termed "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and was barred from entering Britain last year to stop him spreading "hatred".
Political analysts say there are a number of different possible coalitions. The Liberals could form an alliance with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and either the far-right PVV or Labour.
Alternatively, a coalition could be formed with Labour, the Greens and liberal, centre-left D66, but the chances of this were described as "remote" by Rutte, in comments in De Telegraaf newspaper Friday.
The election was triggered after the collapse of the centre-left coalition led by Jan Peter Balkenende of the Christian Democrats, caused by disagreements over the presence of Dutch troops in Afghanistan.
The PVV pushed the Christian Democrats into fourth place.
Analysts say there could be further elections within a year.
© 2010 AFP