Dutch senators: coalition builders ignoring us
A group of senators representing a majority in the Upper House of the Dutch parliament has written to coalition negotiator Ivo Opstelten to remind him of their existence.
They point out that Queen Beatrix asked him to build a coalition cabinet which can rely on a fruitful co-operation with the entire parliament, not just with the Lower House. The senators' letter was published on Friday by daily .
Mr Opstelten is working on a coalition agreement between three parties. Free-market liberal VVD and Christian Democrat CDA would form a minority government to which the anti-Islam Freedom Party would pledge support. Together, the three parties have a 1-seat majority in the 150-member Lower House.
The problem which the senators are pinpointing is that the Freedom Party is not represented in the Senate. Thus the minority cabinet would never have a guaranteed majority in the Upper House, and the "fruitful co-operation" demanded by the queen could never be achieved. The senators, who represent all parties in the upper house except VVD and CDA, are asking coalition negotiator Opstelten to involve them in the talks.
The 9 June general elections did not give any party an overall majority. Talks involving the two election winners VVD and Freedom Party have been going on since early August, after negotiations with other parties failed. Both parties gained significantly in the vote, unlike the third prospective coalition partner, the Christian Democrats, who lost half their seats in the Lower House.
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