Dutch talks on forming coalition government still deadlocked

World News
Mark Rutte

FILE – In this Thursday, April 1, 2021 file photo, caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte listens to the debate in parliament, in The Hague, Netherlands. Nearly 100 days after Dutch national elections, talks to form a new ruling coalition remain deadlocked, the official who has led weeks of negotiations said Tuesday, June 22, 2021. The conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy led by three-term Prime Minister Mark Rutte won the most seats in the three-day election that ended March 17, but the splintered result has so far prevented the formation of a new coalition. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Nearly 100 days after Dutch national election, talks to form a new ruling coalition remain deadlocked, the official who has led weeks of negotiations said Tuesday.

The conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy led by three-term Prime Minister Mark Rutte won the most seats in the three-day election that ended March 17, but the splintered result has so far prevented the formation of a new govering coalition.

The other big winner was the centrist D66 party led by caretaker Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag. But at least four parties will have to join forces to command a majority in the 150-seat lower house of Parliament and ideological differences between them are so far blocking progress toward the next government.

“At the moment, there is no combination possible” among six parties from across the political spectrum that have expressed readiness to be part of the next government, said Mariette Hamer, a former lawmaker leading coalition talks.

Hamer said in a report to Parliament that the stalemate “cannot be the end of the complex political relationships” and said Rutte’s and Kaag’s parties now need to take the next step.

Hamer recommended that the two party leaders use the coming weeks to draw up a document sketching out a policy blueprint for the next government. The document can then be used for a resumption of coalition talks in mid-August.

In the absence of a new government, Rutte’s last administration has been ruling the country in caretaker mode.

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