Rutte still looking for coalition partners

Two months after the elections, hopes for a rapid formation of government in the Netherlands have been dashed. Prime Minister Mark Rutte's plans for a four-party coalition including his right-wing liberal VVD, the left-liberal D66, the Christian democratic CDA and the green GroenLinks party have failed due to disagreements on immigration policy. Commentators criticise Rutte's negotiation strategy.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Too much time lost already

Valuable time has been lost with the four-party talks, De Volkskrant admonishes:

“On the first day it was already crystal clear that the asylum question would be a formidable obstacle. The differences in terms of content between the [right-wing liberal] VVD and the [Christian democratic] CDA with the [environmentalist] GroenLinks are enormous. ... Parliament is now rightly asking why the parties have been beating around the bush for the past two months. Of course no one's going to die if a government isn't formed right away, nevertheless if we don't have one by the summer it won't even be possible to present a draft budget for 2018. ... The election results have put The Hague in a conundrum. Of course it takes time to adjust to the new circumstances. But that time is up now.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

No way around Wilders

Election winner Mark Rutte has ruled out the possibility of talks with right-wing populist Geert Wilders' PVV. De Telegraaf sees this as a bad move:

“It's understandable that the liberals don't want any more adventures with the PVV. But the VVD's refusal to talk to the second strongest party in the country is unacceptable for many citizens, particularly if it delays the formation of a new government. The VVD will say it doesn't want to waste time on what is a hopeless cause, also in view of the major concerns on the part of the other two potential coalition partners. But other little games are now underway in The Hague. … A union with the Greens has been ruled out, but the green bride isn't entirely out of the picture yet. That would be the worst possible scenario.”