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Rutte claims four-party coalition is close

Chase Winter
October 6, 2017

After months of negotiations, four Dutch parties have reportedly reached a tentative agreement to form a new government. After years of austerity, it is expected to bring in tax cuts and boost spending on defense.

Niederlande Parteiführer Roemer Wilders Rutte
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/P. Dejong

Four Dutch parties have moved closer to reaching an agreement to form a new government after talks since the March elections, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday.

The plan will be presented to the parties’ parliamentary groups on Monday and, if approved, it will be officially presented on Tuesday. Rutte's center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) will form the government with the liberal D66, conservative Christian Democratic Appeal and conservative Christian Unity parties, De Telegraaf reported.

"We will all go to our political groups, but I think there is a good agreement to form a government," Rutte told reporters in The Hague.

According to De Volkskrant newspaper, the deal was struck after the parties reached agreement on taxes, public spending and the hot button political issue of welfare payments to refugees.

Record time to form coalition

The parties hope to officially present a new government on Tuesday, although it could take another two weeks before a cabinet is formed.

Rutte is likely to retain his post as prime minister.

The Netherlands has struggled to form a government since the March 15 election, which saw 13 parties winning representation in the lower house.

All the main parties refused to enter coalition talks with Geert Wilders' anti-immigrant Party for Freedom, which came in second after the VVD.

Coalition talks in the Netherlands have on average taken 72 days, but Monday marks a record 208 days since the election.

cw/jm (AP, AFP)