Quick update — Den Haag

Because I’ve been unable to work on this blog last week we’ve got a backlog of interesting stuff. So I’ll run a series of quick updates on a variety of topics.

First the local negotiations in Den Haag.

10 seats
8 seats
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3 seats
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2 seats
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1 seat

I already posted about how the PVV, which became the second party in Den Haag, has effectively manoeuvred itself out of the coalition negotiations. It was absolutely adamant on banning Islamic headscarves from public buildings, and this standpoint was unacceptable to the other parties.

Briefly after, Wilders made a U-turn on this subject and indicated negotiation was possible after all. But it turned out to be too late; the other parties didn’t want the PVV any more. This is a problem for Wilders; although he would definitely prefer to remain in the opposition and shout at whomever is in power, voters don’t like voting for parties that refuse to take governmental responsibility.

In any case, Staal (D66) was appointed informer, and recently he said that during negotiations the PVV did break on headscarves. When Staal negotiated with the four large parties, out of nine serious differences of opinion, eight were negotiable. The ninth, “Islamisation,” was the one that the PVV refused to budge on.

Staal was very clear that Wilders was talking nonsense; if headscarves were truly negotiable, local PVV leader Fritsma would have returned to the negotiations. He didn’t.
(Source: Trouw | Volkskrant)

With the PVV out of the way, the traditional parties could revive their infighting. Before the elections Den Haag had a PvdA+VVD+GL coalition, but both social-democrats and liberals lost. The original plan was that D66 would reinforce the old coalition.

However, since then the VVD declared it didn’t want to sit in a three-party coalition. That could mean either PvdA+PVV+VVD, which has become impossible due to the headscarves, or Purple PvdA+VVD+D66, which has the narrowest possible majority of 23 seats. As usual D66 was enthusiastic about that option, but the VVD felt the majority was too narrow.

A fourth party is necessary, and that fourth party should not be GL, which the liberals think is, well, too green and too left. (Apparently that wasn’t a problem last time around, but such things change.)

Thus informer Staal arrived at PvdA+VVD+D66+CDA as most viable coalition, and this solution was presented to the council recently.

However, the PvdA blocked the CDA. It’s not entirely clear to me why it did so; but part of the problem will be that the PvdA expects, as largest party, to invite whomever they damn well please. The informer should not meddle with that privilege.

That’s the current state of affairs, except that, apparently, the plan is now that the VVD should make concessions to the CDA in order to please the PvdA. The logic here eludes me.

In addition, D66, as the sole winner (+4 seats, while the other three lost heavily), wants extra influence on the eventual coalition programme.

Staal has meanwhile become annoyed at PvdA and VVD, which he feels display “lack of constructive cooperation,” a serious sin in Dutch politics.

So that’s where we are now in Den Haag. The PvdA has, for the moment, withdrawn its blocking of the CDA, although it “deplores” that it has to betray former coalition partner GL.
(Source: Trouw | Volkskrant | NRC)

Negotiations can now start in earnest. I hope to have an update in several weeks.

<— Know your coalitions — Purple | Negotiations to watch — Amsterdam —>

This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.


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