Well, it seems there will be negotiations for a right-wing coalition. As regular readers know I applaud this: let Wilders show how much (or little) interested in governing he is.
All party leaders visited the Queen and gave her advice on how to proceed. This is mostly a formality, although occasionally a party leader lets slip a clue as to his true intentions (either deliberately or by accident). No such thing this time: the advices were what one would expect.
In general it’s custom that the largest party (the VVD) takes the initiative, while the parties that have won in the elections are invited to talks first. In this case that amounts to the VVD talking to the PVV.
In fact, Wilders explicitly said that this was the proper way to proceed — and he’s right for a change. (However, officially one is not supposed to talk about the advice one gives to the Queen, so he made a minor faux pas here. On the other hand, his advice is bloody obvious.)
(Source: NRC | Trouw)
Uri Rosenthal, VVD leader in the Senate, has been appointed informer, and he has started negotiating with the PVV.
Still, although this is an obvious first move VVD party leader Rutte remains careful. He has made it known he’s worried about the internal stability of the potential coalition partners. He pointed out that PVV MP Brinkman recently went against the party line by openly calling for more internal democracy within the PVV. (He also called upon people to vote for him specifically if they agreed with him; unfortunately I haven’t yet seen any reports of preferential votes, so it’s unclear how much of the PVV electorate agrees with him.)
In any case, Rutte has chosen to see this episode as a hint of instability within the PVV, and has asked Wilders for clarification. Clever. Keep the enemy busy.
However, the CDA is also demurring. Several high-ranking CDA members have publicly rejected a coalition with the PVV. Besides, new parliamentary leader Verhagen has said that the CDA, after its historic defeat in the elections, should not be too eager to play a leading role.
(Source: NRC | Trouw)
This is understandable. One of the biggest surprises of the elections was that there turns out to be a voter conduit between CDA and PVV, which nobody had predicted. Thus CDA and PVV have become electoral competitors, and it would be good for the CDA to stay in opposition while the PVV sits in government: disappointed voters may find their way back to the christian-democrats.
As far as I’m concerned this is not good for the country as a whole: right now is the time to prove that Wilders is not truly interested in governing (although he has to pretend he is), and the CDA is required for that mechanism.
So right now VVD and PVV are more-or-less forced to talk to each other and smile, while the CDA can keep in the shadows and decide later.
Informer Rosenthal warned that these talks are supposed to lead to a true government, and not be just a round of talks that anyone can pull out of. I choose to interpret this as a veiled warning to the PVV: get into government or shut up.
Also, his official job description does not state a VVD+PVV coalition is required, so Rosenthal can switch to Purple-green negotiations if the situation warrants it. Still, I hope he won’t do that too soon. Wilders has won convincingly, now let him take responsibility or suffer the consequences.
Right now Rosenthal is talking to the leaders: first Rutte, then Wilders. I assume Verhagen will come next, so that Rosenthal can judge whether the CDA will make good on its threats and stay out of a right-wing coalition. It would not be good if the failure of right-wing negotiations can be put down to the CDA demurring instead of Wilders.
We’ll see. The first steps are not especially surprising, and we now need a week or so to figure out what’s going to happen next. I do expect the VVD to maintain its pressure on the PVV.
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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.