No 'Purple Plus' coalition in Netherlands
Talks about the formation of a centre-left coalition in the Netherlands have broken down. Free-market liberal leader Marc Rutte and Labour leader Job Cohen have told reporters that their parties do not see sufficient common ground to form a majority coalition government.
It is expected that coalition negotiator, Senator Uri Rosenthal, will make a statement later today.
Blue and red The senator had been investigating the viability of a so-called "Purple plus" coalition of the "blue" VVD and "red" Labour, plus two smaller leftist parties, D66 and Green Left. Although this would combine three election winners - only Labour lost seats in the 9 June elections - the differences between VVD and Labour proved insurmountable. The VVD insists on sharp austerity measures, amounting to 20 million euros in cuts, while Labour favours a gentler approach.
It is the second coalition that has proven impossible, after the failure of talks between the VVD and Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party, who were not able to convince the Christian Democrats to join the coalition negotiations.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide