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Klaver and Rutte; Wilders

Wilders says he is still available after Dutch coalition talks end in failure

Dutch politician Geert Wilders said his party was still available as coalition talks between Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD and three other parties ended in failure.

Published: May 16, 2017, 12:19 pm

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    The Hague

    One of the possible coalition partners, GreenLeft [GroenLinks], had refused to break their promise on open-border immigration. Wilders called the breakdown “very good news” in a tweet.

    Edith Schippers, the outgoing health minister who led the negotiations, told reporters immigration was the most divisive issue. “Migration proved to be a bridge too far,” she said. “We have not been able to reach a joint basic decision.”

    GreenLeft, headed by the 31-year-old Jesse Klaver, had campaigned for a more generous asylum policy, a very unpopular stance in the country.

    Wilders, whose party came second, has been completely shut out of the talks. His PVV party is ignored despite winning the second-largest number of seats in parliament, because Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other leftist parties refused to work with him.

    Negotiations between liberals from the VVD, the Christian Democrats (CDA), the progressive Democracy Party (D66) and the leftist GreenLeft eventually came unstuck on immigration policy after weeks of wrangling.

    Other policies, including on climate change and income levels, also created problems during the talks, according to Rutte. “We wanted them to be successful, but we didn’t succeed. We decided together that it just wouldn’t work,” he said.

    Rutte is now left with the conservative Christian Union to secure a very narrow 76-seat majority but Monday’s breakdown is likely to set back the formation of a government by months.

    The CU did not gain seats in the election, unlike the Greens, but their labor and tax reform policies align with those of Rutte’s liberals and the Christian Democrats.

    However, the Christian Union is conservative and Euroskeptic, against organ donation and political integration in the eurozone.

    Green Left won 20 districts, and was seen as vital to securing a comfortable 85 seats. “I am very disappointed,” said CDA leader Sybrand Buma. “The differences between us were too wide, particularly in terms of immigration.”

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