Queen appoints new coalition negotiator

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Queen Beatrix has appointed the vice-president of the Council of State, Herman Tjeenk Willink, as the new coalition negotiator to replace Senator Uri Rosenthal.

In choosing the country's top civil servant, the queen has ignored Senator Rosenthal's advice to appoint two negotiators, one from the conservative VVD and one from the Labour party. Mr Rosenthal's advice was welcomed by the VVD, Labour, the Christian Democrats and the Green Left party. The democrat party D66 was the only one to express a preference for a single negotiator.

In a statement, Mr Tjeenk Willink stresses "he has not been hired to conduct negotiations on forming any cabinet whatsoever". Echoing the queen's brief, he said he would merely inform her as soon as possible on steps to be taken to form a cabinet which can count on a fruitful cooperation with parliament.

He will begin his task on Monday with talks with his predecessor, Senator Rosenthal, and the parliamentary party leaders of the VVD, Labour, CDA, D66 and Green Left. These are the parties Mr Rosenthal's final report indicated as willing to hold coalition talks.

The far-right PVV party led by Geert Wilders has not been invited. In a reaction, Mr Wilders denounced "the exclusion of the biggest winner as undemocratic".

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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