PM has coalition hopes, Socialists keen for talks

23rd November 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 November 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Thursday he sees possibilities in the formation of a new coalition Cabinet, but refused to identify what parties he had in mind.

23 November 2006

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Thursday he sees possibilities in the formation of a new coalition Cabinet, but refused to identify what parties he had in mind.

Speaking after a Christian Democrat CDA meeting, Balkenende said he would advise Queen Beatrix first before speaking publicly about the coalition formation.

Balkenende — re-elected as CDA parliamentary leader — dismissed as premature comments from ChristenUnie leader Andre Rouvoet, who said the election result was a signal that voters wanted a more social policy.

Socialist SP leader Jan Marijnissen said it was his responsibility to discuss possible coalitions with the CDA and Labour PvdA despite the fact he had ruled out co-operating with the CDA in the lead-up to the election.

Marijnissen said a "very complicated political situation had arisen" following the SP's stunning election success — in which the party moved from nine to 26 seats. He said the CDA should take a week to assess what the result meant.

The SP leader also had the impression that Balkenende believes the past few years had been a success despite the fact that voters had clearly asked for a more social policy. He stressed further that the CDA had undergo vigorous change.

Labour PvdA chairman Michiel van Hulten said his party was ill-prepared for the hard campaign waged by the CDA, admitting that social democrats had been "naïve".

But despite the PvdA disappointing 32 seats compared with the CDA's 41, Van Hulten said Wouter Bos would remain the party's leader in Parliament for another four years.

The Liberal VVD is not expecting to become involved in coalition government talks and is preparing to enter the opposition ranks, leader Mark Rutte said.

Despite only winning 22 seats on Wednesday, six fewer than in 2003, Rutte was re-elected as VVD leader without discussion on Thursday. He will re-evaluate the party's election campaign in coming months.

Freedom Party PVV founder Geert Wilders said he is keen to discuss the formation of a new cabinet with the CDA and VVD. But he said he was not in a position to take the initiative.
 
He also said it was a scandal that the large parties were excluding the PVV from coalition talks via a 'cordon sanitaire' similar to that used by the mainstream parties in Belgium against the far-right Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang).

"We grew from one seat to nine. That is more than GroenLinks and the ChristenUnie. You then need to take a party seriously and dare to talk with it," he said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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