Formation status

My apologies for not posting more; I’m busy busy. The politicians are busy busy, too, rejecting coalitions faster than the eye can follow.


I already said that the right-wing VVD+PVV+CDA coalitions has been rejected by the CDA, afraid as it is to offend its left wing and large parts of the centre, who do not want a coalition that includes the PVV.

When right failed, informer Rosenthal gauged support for VVD+PvdA+D66+GL Purple-Plus (the new name for Purple-green), but the VVD rejected it. Then came the forbidden VVD+PvdA+CDA coalition, which the PvdA rejected. Then he extended a general invitation to VVD, PvdA, CDA, D66, and GL, but the last two parties rejected such a coalition from the broad centre.

Back to square one? Formally, yes. Still, the reason for VVD and PvdA to reject coalitions was not so much that they really don’t want them, but rather to show their voters that they care about them. But when their backs are to the wall, and they must form a coalition, they’ll likely be much more amenable to discussion.

However, every party is waiting for another party to force the issue and push them to the wall, and no party has as yet shown any inclination of pushing another party. Impasse.

The Queen intervenes

Yesterday Rosenthal (VVD) reported the latest impossibilities to the Queen, and advised her to appointed a second informer, this one from the PvdA. The Queen, however, rejected his advise and appointed Tjeenk Willink (PvdA) sole informer.

Such solo actions of the Queen are unusual, but not unheard-of. She did something similar in 1994, when the first round of Purple negotiations had failed, and CDA, VVD, and D66 had all rejected a coalition. Back then only the PvdA hadn’t, and the Queen rewarded the social-democrats with the informership, which eventually led to Purple I.

The situation is different now. The PvdA has rejected a coalition, but that was the forbidden one that just does not fit into the Dutch party system. This is the only rejection I completely agree with, and apparently the Queen feels the same.

Besides, she’s sending a clear message. The VVD, as the largest party, could take the initiative just after the elections, but it has squandered that right, which has now devolved on second-largest PvdA. I interpret her action as a snub to the VVD.

We might get a discussion on whether the Queen has overstepped her de-facto authority by ignoring Rosenthal’s advice. Constitutional scholars live for these moments, and the Queen is not a democratically elected official.

Still, I feel that a democratically elected official would have done pretty much the same. The VVD has not exactly gone out of its way to create a sensible coalition, and switching to the PvdA makes a certain amount of sense.

What’s next?

Tjeenk Willink emphasised he was going to be strict in his informing: no protracted negotiations, but a quick round of talks in order to find out which parties are willing to talk to which parties. Basically he wants to force the parties themselves to take a next step.

It might also be useful to discuss actual issues with the parties; until now it was only a game of who wants whom, without any reference to factual differences of opinions.

Anyway, it seems the first two options to be studied are the broad centre coalition (VVD+PvdA+CDA, possibly reinforced by GL and D66), and Purple-Plus. In other words: all variants that have the PvdA in them. That’s not absurd for a PvdA informer.

In any case Wilders’s PVV is out of the picture. As regular readers will know I consider that a problem, and not a solution. Wilders should have been forced to either reject government or taint his ideological purity in government. But that option seems to have been killed effectively by the CDA.

All the more reason not to reward the christian-democrats with governmental involvement and to go for Purple-Plus.

<— No right-wing government | Purple-plus becomes “necessary” —>

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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