Dutch coalition talks end in a deal: PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB to form a Cabinet

Geert Wilders tells reporters that the PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB have a deal to form a new coalition. 15 May 2024
Geert Wilders tells reporters that the PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB have a deal to form a new coalition. 15 May 2024

Nearly six months after elections in November, far-right leader Geert Wilders announced that the four parties negotiating to form a new Cabinet have reached a deal. The leader of the PVV said on Wednesday afternoon that he also discussed who will become the next prime minister with the other parties working to form a coalition, the VVD, NSC, and BBB. However, the four parties have not reached a deal on the new leader.

Details about the coalition agreement were not released, as it now has to be debated by the parties’ parliamentarians within their own political groups. Neither Wilders nor the leaders of the other three parties would say who could become the next political leader of the Netherlands. “We have an agreement with the negotiators and we will now defend it with our factions. We have spoken about the prime minister. We will resume that conversation at a later time. I cannot say more now. I came out at the moment it was finished,” said Wilders, and refused to answer more questions about the matter.

Ronald Plasterk, the former interior minister under Mark Rutte’s previous Cabinet, was rumored to be Wilders’ favorite to be the next prime minister. Plasterk has been a member of the Dutch Labour party, PvdA, for 46 years and served as one of the early moderators in talks between the four parties. He would have to give up his membership, and would likely join the PVV.

When NSC leader Pieter Omtzigt was specifically asked about rumors indicating that Plasterk would succeed Mark Rutte as prime minister, Omtzigt only laughed and referred all questions to back to Wilders. “I am happy that there is an agreement. I will soon hear what the faction thinks about it,” he said. “There were still a few points that had to be resolved at the main table prime minister candidate, but the spokesperson on this should be Mr. Wilders. I cannot respond now to a name that I cannot announce. We are going to form a Cabinet together.”

Talks between the four parties dragged on far longer than expected on Wednesday, and the parties would not say why this was the case. Sources told NOS that a dispute over pensions led to a clash between the VVD and NSC. “The fact that it took longer is the story of this formation. We have not put a single new proposal on the table. Well there are side discussions with specialists who have gone through the text,” Omtzigt said.

Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, who leads the VVD and is the caretaker justice minister, said that there was a positive atmosphere even as the negotiations continued for longer periods on Wednesday afternoon. “Important steps have been taken,” she said. “Now we are going to discuss it with the faction. It has taken us a long time, but it is important for the country. The faction is discussing it, and that always takes a long time at the VVD. We are also going to order food, so it might go late.”

“The talks took longer, but I don’t want to say anything else. We have a negotiated [coalition] agreement and we are very happy with it. It takes as long as it takes. We are now going to the faction,” said BBB leader Caroline van der Plas. She also said she was very confident about the outcome regarding conversations within her own faction.

Regardless of what happens the rest of Wednesday evening, the current round of negotiations will end at midnight, said Elbert Dijkgraaf and Richard van Zwol just before the weekend. The two are leading the talks, and have a formal deadline ending their appointment which requires them to submit a report about progress to Parliament.

Whether Plasterk or someone else is tapped to be the next prime minister, the process begins when a nominee is submitted to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament. That person then has to be appointed as a formateur by a majority of Tweede Kamer members. They will then start vetting potential ministers and state secretaries to sit as Cabinet members.

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Categories: Politics
Anton Nieuwenhuizen

Written by:Anton Nieuwenhuizen All posts by the author

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