Mark Rutte to start coalition talks after Dutch election’s win

Photo: EPA

Mark Rutte said on Thursday that he wants a quick start to negotiations on forming the next Dutch government, a night after his party took a majority, clearing the way for his fourth term as prime minister, dpa reported. But it won't be clear sailing for the head of the centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

The current government is made up of the VVD, the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the social liberal Democrats 66 (D66) and the centrist Christian Union.

The D66 surged to second place in this week's voting, with 25 seats. Combined with the VVD's 35 seats, the current coalition members have the seats to reform the existing coalition, with a small majority.

However, because the D66 did so well, and because the CDA lost a few seats, the D66 is demanding that at least one other left-leaning party be able to join any coalition. That could complicate talks.

Additionally, the parties looking to form a coalition must face the reality that, even though the right-wing Party for Freedom of populist Geert Wilders dropped to third place with 17 seats, there were overall more votes for right-wing parties than in any other Dutch election.

For example, the eurosceptic Forum for Democracy (FvD) scored eight seats, while the JA21 party, which split from the FvD, got into the legislature for the first time with four seats.

Coalition-building could be further complicated by the fact that record 17 parties entered the parliament.

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