Keep trying for a right-wing coalition, Dutch parties say
A majority in the Dutch Lower House has advised Queen Beatrix to have a programme for a new government drafted by Mark Rutte, the leader of the free-market liberal VVD party.
In the course of consultations to refloat the stranded coalition negotiations, the three parties involved all favoured a continuation of efforts towards a centre-right government. VVD, Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party and the Christian Democrat Appeal CDA were close to reaching agreement when the talks broke down. This was caused by the loss of the minimal one-seat majority which the combination had in parliament.
Outgoing Health Minister, Ab Klink MP, derailed the talks by withdrawing his support for the proposed centre-right coalition on grounds of principle. He feared that Geert Wilders' Freedom Party would infringe the fundamental freedom of religion and damage the Dutch reputation abroad. Mr Klink's surprise resignation from parliament, however, reopened the door to the negotiating table. His successor as an MP is expected to be loyal to the Christian Democrat party line.
Constitution The new talks could focus on achieving agreement on a plan of action for the new government which VVD leader Rutte has offered to write. This proposal has now been endorsed by the three likely coalition partners, but a decision by the queen is not likely until later this week. In the Dutch constitutional monarchy, the head of state has only limited political powers, which are restricted to appointing prime ministers and post-election coalition negotiators.
Technocrats The option of a technocrat cabinet, proposed shortly after the 9 June elections by Council of State Vice-Chairman Herman Tjeenk Willink, has not been explored yet. Its proponents are drawing hope from the fact that it has not been rejected outright, either. Technocrat ministers would be experts with widely varying party affiliations but without direct involvement in politics, who would be called upon to solve the Netherlands' financial, social and environmental problems.
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