Netherlands: coalition agreement to form a government after nine months of discussions

Four Dutch political parties reached an agreement on Monday (December 13th) which should allow Prime Minister Mark Rutte to form his fourth government, nearly nine months after the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.

This text of agreement between the Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD, center right), the formation of Mr. Rutte, the Reformers Party (D66, center left), the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA, center law) and the Christian Union (CU, conservatives) will be presented to their respective parliamentary groups on Tuesday, then it will be debated in Parliament on Wednesday.

“The text has been accepted”said a spokesperson for Johan Remkes (VVD) and Wouter Koolmees (D66), who oversaw the negotiations, as quoted by the ANP news agency. NOS and RTL TV channels also announced the deal.

The negotiations, which began after the general elections in mid-March, will have lasted two hundred and seventy-one days, a new record for the Netherlands after two hundred and twenty-five days without a government in 2017, but still far from the Belgian record of five hundred and forty-one days without a government in office.

Mr. Rutte, Prime Minister since October 2010, has resigned since January because of a scandal related to family allowances, but he continues to manage day-to-day affairs. He was not disowned by voters in the March ballot, won hands down by his party, despite a year marked in particular by a motion of no confidence which he barely survived. This ability to emerge unscathed from political crises has earned it the nickname “Teflon”.

With this fourth mandate, Mr. Rutte will become one of the leaders of Europe in power for the longest, after the Hungarian Viktor Orban, who took office in May 2010, but will remain however far from the sixteen years of Angela Merkel. at the head of Germany.

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Government formation in January

The Netherlands, faced with a new epidemic wave that has led to unpopular restrictive measures, will however have to wait until January to find out about their new government, while the coalition divides up the ministries.

Among the expected political announcements, the future coalition is expected to announce an extension of free childcare, billions of euros of investments to fight against climate change, the lack of housing and research on nuclear energy as well as the establishment of road tolls, according to NOS.

Sigrid Kaag, the leader of the D66 party (who came second in the elections), is expected to inherit the foreign ministry, according to media reports. Appointed to the post in May, she resigned in September after being criticized by parliament for the chaotic handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan and for not seeing signs of an imminent takeover of the country by the Afghan forces. Taliban.

The current Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge, the public face of the fight against Covid-19 in the Netherlands, should not, however, be renewed, and his press briefing on Tuesday alongside Mr. Rutte should be his last in this post. The country has been rocked this year by violent riots in response to health measures taken by the government to curb the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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Netherlands: coalition agreement to form a government after nine months of discussions

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