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Rutte seeks ‘stable’ coalition of four parties for next cabinet

Rutte seeks ‘stable’ coalition of four parties for next cabinet

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte is looking to put together a ‘stable’ coalition of four parties following last week’s election.

Rutte told reporters he preferred a majority in both houses of Parliament to a minority government, following a brief meeting with health minister Edith Schippers.

Schippers is spending the day meeting the leaders of all 13 parties in the new Parliament in her role as ‘verkenner’, taking initial soundings to gauge potential coalition options. Parliament will debate her findings and the election result on Thursday.

Rutte repeated his pre-election promise that he would not work in government with Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam PVV party, but beyond that all options were open. He said the most likely coalition would involve the Christian Democrats and D66, together with a fourth party – either the Socialists (SP), ChristenUnie, GroenLinks or Labour (PvdA). ‘All these parties have their advantages and disadvantages,’ said Rutte.

Senior Labour politicians, including leader Lodewijk Asscher and departing international development minister Lilianne Ploumen, have said the party should not seek to stay in government following its heavy election defeat, while there are deep divisions between the Socialists and Rutte’s VVD party on major issues such as health and pensions.

The VVD won 33 seats in the election, while the Christian Democrats and D66 each have 19. The ChristenUnie’s five seats would be enough for a narrow majority in both houses, while a coalition with GroenLinks’s 14 MPs would secure a comfortable majority but have more ideological differences. The SP also finished on 14 seats while Labour (PvdA) crashed from 38 in the last Parliament to nine.

Schippers, who has been health minister since 2010, also said she would be quitting politics once the new government takes office. ‘It’s a significant day for me because I will not be taking a role in the new cabinet,’ she said. Schippers was not on the VVD’s list of candidates for the election but could have kept her job, as cabinet ministers do not need to be elected as MPs.

This article appeared first on

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