New Dutch coalition talks with anti-Islam party

24th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The party of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders on Saturday reemerged as a possible government coalition partner.

The Christian Democrats agreed to exploratory talks with Wilders' PVV and the centre-right VVD.

Following June 9 elections won by the VVD, the Christian Democratic Action refused coalition talks involving Wilders' far-right Party for Freedom, but a party conference decided Saturday to take part in a new round of talks.

CDA leader Maxime Verhagen said the CDA would set no conditions for the discussions. But if this were to lead to real coalition negotiations, "there will be conditions", he said on national television.

These would involve "how we relate to each other as a society, the principles of the constitutional state, basic human rights that each individual should enjoy in the Netherlands.

"The CDA will not be part of a government that may put these issues up for discussion."

Wilders, who calls Islam fascist and campaigns for the banning of the Koran and the burqa, described CDA's move as a "good decision," according to news agency ANP.

On Tuesday, two weeks of coalition talks between the VVD, the labour PvdA, the centrist D66 and green GroenLinks broke down on issues of financial policy.

The free-market VVD led by Mark Rutte came out on top of the June polls with 31 seats of 150 in the Dutch parliament.

The PvdA came second with 30 seats, while Wilders' PVV made the biggest gains -- increasing its number of seats from nine to 24.

The CDA, which led the previous four cabinets, was pushed into fourth place with 21 seats, half its previous total.

Earlier attempts to discuss a rightist coalition of the VVD, PVV and CDA were scrapped on June 12 after the Christian Democrats refused to negotiate with Wilders.

A new "informateur", an official appointed by the crown to lead coalition talks, said Friday the three parties must re-explore possibilities for a coalition involving the biggest party (VVD) and the party that made the biggest gains (PVV), before any other options can be considered.

© 2010 AFP

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