The Amsterdam formation

Like in all Dutch cities and communities, Amsterdam is in the throes of local negotiations to form the new city government. In Amsterdam D66 won a surprisingly large victory, 7 to 14 seats, while traditional power party PvdA dropped from 15 to 10. Thus D66 has the initiative, and Rinnooy Kan, a D66 member who was previously chairman of the prestigious Social-Economic Council, was appointed informer.

Today he unveiled his first report: at the moment it seems we’re headed for a surprising D66+SP+VVD coalition. This is not yet final; anything can change, and it’s not a combination local politics watchers considered likely, but it’s where we are now. Source: Parool.

Party 2014 ch 2010
D66 14 +7 7
PvdA 10 -5 15
VVD 6 -2 8
SP 6 +3 3
GL 6 -1 7
CDA 1 -1 2
PvdD 1 +1 0
PvdO 1 +1 0
Others 0 -2 2

D66 prefers a coalition with fellow liberal VVD and one of the left-wing parties, preferably GL. However, it turns out that PvdA and GL have formed a power block, and they refuse to negotiate about anything but a D66+PvdA+GL coalition. However, D66 interprets its large gains as the people having had enough of the PvdA, and rejects any coalition with the former rulers. (It should be added that GL has been a PvdA coalition partner for many years now, and is effectively the second ruling party in the city.)

After all these rejections, the VVD agreed in principle to D66’s plan, and so did the SP — the socialists aren’t invited that often into coalition negotiations, and they’d love to participate. Still, the combination of very left SP and moderate right VVD causes some frowns. Back in the days before the elections, local VVD leader Van der Burg didn’t exclude the SP formally, but he did say that SP+VVD was not a very logical combination.

Anyway. Anything can still change; this is not the final outcome. The decision mostly lies with GL. If they break their block with the PvdA and go over to D66, I expect D66 and VVD to swap the GreenLefts in for the SP, and we’ll get a liberal-with-a-socialist-green-border D66+VVD+GL coalition. If, on the other hand, GL sticks with the PvdA, D66+SP+VVD becomes almost necessary.

Still, let’s assume the unlikely coalition wins and speculate a bit. Amsterdam (and Rotterdam) negotiations are always a bit more visible than those in the other cities, so the fact of a coalition with both SP and VVD will quickly become common knowledge. (It’s not the first. In fact, SP national party leader Roemer was part of such a coalition back when he was alderman in southern town of Boxmeer. But an Amsterdam one is much more visible.)

Currently, the national VVD has more-or-less excluded the SP. What if they reconsider after the Amsterdam news? Granted, the Amsterdam VVD is something of a left-wing outlier in the national VVD, but it would still give the national VVD many more options now that the PVV has been excluded. After all, with the PVV excluded the right-wing parties must cooperate with one or two left-wing ones. If the SP is In they have more of a choice and thus more ways to play the left-wingers against each other.

I probably read too much in one single report right now, but these are the kind of calculations that go through politicians’ minds right now.

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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.

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