Dutch Green Left party insists on leftist coalition

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Green Left leader Femke Halsema is challenging her fellow Dutch party leaders' rejection of a so-called Purple-plus coalition. Ms Halsema told coalition negotiator, Senator Uri Rosenthal on Thursday morning that she insists on serious, four-party talks with "blue" free-market liberal VVD, "red" Labour, and reformist liberals D66.

The Purple-plus avenue was blocked by VVD leader Mark Rutte, whose party would be the most right-wing in an otherwise left-dominated coalition. This position was deemed inappropriate by Mr Rutte, whose party became the largest in the 9 June general elections.

But the Green Left leader maintains that other majority options are unavaible. A centre-right cabinet with VVD and Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party was ruled out by the prospective third partner, the Christian democrats. And a centrist coalition, taking in VVD, Christian democrats and Labour was rejected by Labour leader Job Cohen.

By maintaining her preference for a Purple-plus coalition Ms Halsema is also moving away from her biggest ally, Labour's Job Cohen. He said on Wednesday that Senator Rosenthal should take another look at the possibility of a right-wing government.

After the general elections there are 10 parties in the 150-seat Dutch Lower House, none of which commands a majority. Coalition negotiations in the Netherlands tend to be a protracted affair, with the post-war record held by the 1977 cabinet formation talks, which took 208 days.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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