For the last few weeks, Geert Wilders’ party (De Partij Voor de Vrijheid, or PVV) has been negotiating with the two “center-right” parties, the VVD and the CDA, on the formation of a minority governing coalition. The idea has been that a CDA/VVD coalition would enjoy PVV support, thereby allowing it to govern.
While negotiations dragged on, the PVV’s popularity in the Netherlands has increased. The most recent polls show it gaining as many as seven seats if elections were to be held again, going from 24 to 31. In some polls it is the most popular party in the country.
This has given Mr. Wilders and his party a very strong negotiating position. But now comes word that the negotiations for a government have failed, and have been called off. Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated the latest from Elsevier:
Wilders: The trust in the CDA has hit rock bottom
by Marlou Visser
The lack of confidence in the CDA [Christian Democrats] has led the PVV to stop the formation of a right wing cabinet. PVV leader Geert Wilders says he deeply regrets this, but now becomes the opposition leader. Wilders announced this at a news conference on Friday, September 3.
Wilders offered the CDA parliamentary leader Maxime Verhagen a compromise. If Verhagen would ensure that the three dissidents within the CDA Group, Ab Klink, Kathleen Ferrier and Ad Koppejan, would accept a “yes” by the CDA congress as binding, and otherwise would leave, Wilders would still continue with the formation [of a government]. This guarantee Verhagen could [or would] not give, after which the information negotiations failed.
Wilders blames CDA co-negotiator Ab Klink [who “leaked” a nasty letter he supposedly sent to CDA leader Verhagen in which he stated he was not willing to continue the negotiations because he disagrees on Wilders’ position towards Islam, and subsequently was called by Elsevier “a pawn of Lubbers”] for the failure of the formation. “The letter of Ab Klink has given the left-wing Netherlands a majority again,” said Wilders, disappointed. He says neither he nor Rutte [party leader of he VVD] nor Verhagen recognized themselves in the letter. Wilders calls the action by Klink “extremely regrettable.”
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“The PVV has proven itself a stable party,” says Wilders. “I have behaved well, except for in a single twitter post.” He says he does not feel like participating in an unstable government. Because of the three CDA dissidents, the government would no longer be stable, Wilders finds.
The criticism of the CDA Group is not directed at Verhagen, Wilders emphasized. With Verhagen he could negotiate well. VVD leader Mark Rutte has now indicated he is willing to write a proof of coalition agreement.
“For three long weeks I have been sitting next to a negotiator who all of a sudden comes up with a letter [pdf] that turns against the PVV. And not just against us but against the whole process and even against their own leader Maxime Verhagen [CDA]. Thus it is not surprising that our confidence is gone. Unfortunately, we simply had a lot of doubts about whether the 21 seats [total of the CDA, including the “anti-PVV dissidents”] would still be reached.” The coalition of CDA and VVD with the support of the PVV would have had a bare majority of 76 seats [out of 150]. “We therefore needed all the CDA MPs and could not afford to be dealing with three dissidents,” Wilders said. [De Telegraaf]