Dutch parties inch towards coalition after 208 days

Mammoth talks hampered by presence of far-right party headed by anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders

Dutch parties inch towards coalition after 208 days

World Bulletin / News Desk

Dutch politicians on Monday inched closer to forming a government following a record 208 days without agreement.

The Netherlands -- ruled by coalition administrations since World War II -- last saw 208 days of political horse trading in 1977.

Local media reports suggest the country’s parties have agreed a deal in principle, but no official confirmation has yet emerged.

Dutch voters went to the polls on March 15 this year but no single party gained enough support to form a government.

Parties need at least 76 seats in the 150-seat parliament to govern. Based on March’s results, a minimum of four parties need to come together to form a government. 

The largest group in parliament is the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) with 33 seats, while the second biggest is the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) having 20 MPs.

The Christian Democratic Appeal and the Democrats 66 both have 19 lawmakers, while the Socialist Party and the Green Left have 14 seats each.

There are a range of minor parties also represented -- including the Denk (Think) party which is backed by many Turks in the Netherlands.

Denk -- formed in 2015 by ethnic Turkish lawmakers Tunahan Kuzu and Selcuk Ozturk after their expulsion from the Labor Party, whose integration policy they opposed -- attracted over 200,000 votes not just from expatriate Turks, but from people from various backgrounds opposing discrimination and racism.

The coalition talks have been complicated by the fact no party wants to cooperate with the far-right PVV, headed by controversial anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders.

Wilders’s party failed to perform well in the March election, coming second to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD.

The March result was a disappointment for Geert Wilders’ PVV, which had been ahead in opinion polls in the weeks leading up to the vote but saw its lead evaporate.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ekim 2017, 17:04