Former prime minister van Agt voices dissent

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Former Dutch prime minister Dries van Agt has added his voice to protests from within the Christian Democrat party against a minority coalition supported by the far right Freedom Party. In Monday’s edition of de Volkskrant, Mr Van Agt wrote that Christian Democrats have to “make the parliamentary faction retrace its footsteps.” Mr van Agt is the most prominent Christian Democrat politician so far to voice dissent. He was prime minister from 1977 until 1982.

The former prime minister objects to several points in the Freedom Party manifesto, including an immigration stop for people from Islamic countries and no benefits for immigrants before they have worked in the Netherlands for ten years. In a letter to the paper he says: “ Each one of these demands is unacceptable, none of them should be even partly granted.”

Meanwhile negotiations between the conservative VVD, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Party enter their second week.

Radio silence on the progress of the talks however has been broken as more and more CDA members express principle objections to the supporting role of the Freedom Party. Meanwhile two online petitions have been placed on internet websites both for and against the talks.

Before the negotiations began, mediator Ivo Opstelten said the talks would probably take three weeks. Sources close to the negotiators say a balance will be made at the end of the week on whether or not this coalition has a chance of success.

The main problem for the next government will be where to make 18 billion euros in cuts to get the budget back on course.  


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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