A new twist in Dutch government negotiations

The parliamentary elections in the Netherlands in which Geert Wilders’s Freedom party (PVV) almost tripled its number of seats and shook the Dutch political system took place almost two months ago, yet a government still has not been formed. Such is the cost of the multi-party proportional system: endless negotiations are needed to reach some agreement among some subset of the parties sufficient to create a government. I think it’s better to have a system like ours, in which there is a clear winner and clear loser.

Now a new stage in the negotiations has been reached, as reported by the English language Dutch News service. The emerging idea is that the two parties with the most seats, the VVD and the CDA (Christian Democrats), would join in a minority government that does not include the Freedom Party, but has the support of the Freedom Party in parliament:

This will allow the CDA to get round objections to ruling with the anti-Islam party, frees Wilders from the responsibility of having to find ministers and gives him free reign to continue his anti-Islam campaign, the paper says.

It would also be beneficial to the Netherlands’ reputation abroad not to have the PVV in government.

Nice little editorial note there! Still, this would probably be the best outcome from Wilders’s point of view. He would not have to be part of the government, and so could continue his international anti-Islam work, yet the government would still have to conduct itself in such as a way as to maintain his support.

The three party leaders—Mark Rutte, Maxime Verhagen and Geert Wilders—will discuss this week’s talks with MPs in three separate meetings at 1400 hours today.

Their talks have taken place at a secret location and without the presence of coalition negotiator Ruud Lubbers. He wants a decision from the the three leaders by Saturday 1200 hours.

Together the three parties control 76 seats of the 150-seat lower house of parliament. If the three parties agree, negotiations on forming a right-wing cabinet [LA replies: what the Dutch call right-wing!”] will begin next week.

Wilders will be involved in drawing up the coalition agreement and will sign it, but will not be part of the government.

Danish situation

In Denmark, the far-right DPP has given its parliamentary support to a right-wing government for nine years and Wilders would do well to copy this, Danish MEP Morten Messerschmidt told the Volkskrant.

Wilders is often in Denmark and knows DPP leader Pia Kjaersgaard well.

‘The cabinet cannot do a thing without our support. In return we get our way in the fight against Islam and in tightening up immigration and integration policy,’ he told the paper.

Wilders has repeatedly said he would be happy to support a right-wing government which the PVV is not part of.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 30, 2010 09:09 AM | Send

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