'Relief' as Wilders-backed Dutch coalition fails
Leftist Dutch political parties on Saturday expressed "relief" at the failure of negotiations to form a rightist coalition government backed by controversial anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders.
The talks to form a so-called minority coalition between the pro-business VVD, which narrowly won June 9 national elections, and the Christian Democratic Action (CDA) broke down on Friday.
Job Cohen, leader of the labour PvdA that came second in June polls said the rightist government would have been unstable and would have "split the country."
Femke Halsema, leader of the green GroenLinks party now hoping to be part of a broad left coalition with the VVD and PvdA, reacted with "huge relief."
If they had succeeded, Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV), while not a part of the government, would have been expected to provide the majority required to pass decisions through parliament in return for a voice in policy formation.
The VVD and CDA have a combined 52 seats in the 150-member Dutch parliament, and Wilders 24.
Wilders calls Islam fascist and wants to stop Muslim immigration and the building of new mosques.
The Socialist Party's Emile Roemer added that it was "a blessing" that the country was spared "a government that tolerates discrimination."
According to the Nederlands Dagblad Christian daily, the country had escaped having "an unstable minority cabinet on a leash held by Geert Wilders."
Wilders said Friday he had withdrawn from negotiations after senior CDA members expressed concerns publicly about cooperation with his party.
Rutte and Verhagen both regretted the collapse of talks.
Ivo Opstelten, an official appointed by Queen Beatrix to examine the rightist minority government option, presented his final report to the monarch on Saturday.
"I have come to the conclusion that the speedy creation of a stable cabinet of the VVD and CDA that can count on fruitful cooperation with parliament with backing from the PVV, is not possible," he said in the report.
The royal communication service said Queen Beatrix would meet her political advisors and the leaders of all political parties represented in parliament on Monday and Tuesday next week to discuss the latest events.
© 2010 AFP