Liberals warn of government crisis
27 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Liberal VVD party has sounded the alarm bells about the stability of the three-party coalition government.
The VVD is annoyed that its coalition partners, the Christian Democrat CDA and Democrat D66, seem ready to work with the opposition Labour PvdA to come up with a compromise on a controversial re-drafting of the electoral system.
“This could bring the coalition government down,” VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen warned Thursday.
Under the coalition agreement signed by the VVD, CDA and D66, Minister Thom de Graaf — a former leader of D66 — has been charged with reforming the election laws. His proposals have run into opposition from the VVD and the opposition parties.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister and CDA leader Jan Peter Balkenende publicly declared a decision would be taken before the summer as dictated by the coalition accord and not in the autumn as demanded by the VVD.
Van Aartsen hit back and said his party felt it was being frozen out as the other government parties were expressing willingness to compromise with the Labour party.
Together the CDA and PvdA would have a majority in Parliament.
Keen to avoid having his party outflanked, Van Aartsen said it was not acceptable that De Graaf would leave the VVD out of the negotiations.
“That is dishonest behaviour. (The debate on the reform proposals) must not give rise to the impression that the PvdA and CDA can do cosy business together,” he said.
He criticised Balkenende for not resolutely tackling the possibility the CDA and PvdA would work out a deal.
CDA sources dismissed his concerns, telling news agency ANP: “We are sticking to the government accord. The VVD can’t say the same”.
Electoral reform is a key demand for the D66 and one of the cornerstones of its decision to enter the Balkenende government, giving it the necessary majority.
ANP reported that the coalition parties are so concerned the issue could threaten the stability of the government that the leaders of the three parties met in secret with Balkenende last week to try and reach a compromise.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news