Negotiator talks to four "purple plus" parties
Coalition negotiator Uri Rosenthal will be talking to four party leaders today: Mark Rutte from the free market VVD, Job Cohen of the Labour Party, Alexander Pechtold from the progressive liberal D66 and Femke Halsema of Green Left.
Senator Rosenthal plans to talk to them all together in order to discover whether there is any point in starting negotiations towards a "purple plus" cabinet. "Purple plus" is a reference to previous government coalitions which combined "red" Labour with the "blue" VVD. This has the backing of three of the four - Labour, D66 and Green Left.
The VVD, however, regards the four-party combination as too left-wing. Mark Rutte's preference is still for the "grand" coalition of VVD, Labour and the Christian Democrats. This despite the fact that Labour leader Job Cohen rejected the idea on Friday, calling it "a coalition of one winner and two losers" and arguing that it was not a proper reflection of the election results.
Purple plus, by comparison, would involve three parties which made gains in the election and only one "loser" the Labour Party itself, which lost three seats. Both purple plus and the VVD's preferred three-party coalition would have a majority in parliament.
Senator Rosenthal spoke with the leaders of all ten parties in parliament at the weekend and stresses that today's four-party talks are still an "intermediate stage" in the formation of a viable coalition.
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