Remkes gauges support for minority government: Rutte swears good relationship with Kaag

Remkes said this on Wednesday afternoon after talks with a series of small parties. He wants to look ‘primarily at the content’ in the coming days. He does this with the candidates appointed by his predecessor Mariëtte Hamer to form a minority cabinet. Remkes: “The first step is to explore whether there can be fruitful collaboration between the VVD, D66 and CDA factions on the basis of content.”

Remkes will do this this weekend with the party leaders and their secondaries from those three parties at the De Zwaluwenberg estate in Hilversum. That location was also used during the previous formation. “It sometimes helps if you sit around the table with all the players for a while as they are now in the picture”, Remkes explains the corridor to the Gooise green.

According to the informateur, it is not yet certain that the VVD, D66 and CDA will therefore form a minority government. “I say emphatically: this is without already determining a combination of those parties.” The last word has not yet been said about the interpretation of a minority government. D66, for example, is told that there is little appetite for VVD and CDA. But Remkes does see possibilities: “I have the idea that the differences between those three factions can be bridged.” The informateur also expressly wants to see how ‘constructive cooperation’ can be set up with ‘in any case’ PvdA, GL and CU.

Remkes does not want to predict whether that will also work: “I was not given the gift of looking at coffee grounds.” But he does think that all parties want to join in Hilversum: “I don’t have any signals pointing in the other direction yet.”

According to Remkes, the party leaders have not expressed any blockages: “No options have been excluded, but preferences have been expressed.” But that doesn’t always help the informant: “Not everyone can get their way in this process. So sometimes people will have to rise above themselves for a while.” Remkes does not want to say whether an extra-parliamentary cabinet is an option, but: “I do not exclude the possibility that all kinds of brilliant thoughts will come to the table that coming weekend.”

Seek support

Remkes spoke earlier in the day with VVD leader Mark Rutte and the parties that supported his appointment: SGP, JA21, Volt, Groep Van Haga and Fractie Den Haan. Rutte swore afterwards that his relationship with D66 leader Sigrid Kaag is still ‘good’, despite her lashing out in Rutte’s direction in the HJ Schoo lecture last week: “We have an intensive collaboration.”

But anyone who listens behind the scenes will hear that things are still not going smoothly between the parties. For example, there was frustration at the VVD, and also at the CDA, because Kaag allegedly violated an agreement about a negotiation route by sidelining CU.

The five parties that subsequently came along, let it be known that they did not just want to become a tolerance partner of a minority government. The party leaders said they know how to be constructive, but especially on points that correspond to their own party program.

The small parties also have their own preferences about which possible governing parties should predominate in a minority government. “D66 has to give in a bit and not pretend that they have won the elections,” says Van Haga. Dassen says that Volts prefers D66: “That is a party we are closer to.” Van der Staaij wants CDA to join again. He thinks VVD and D66 alone are ‘too one-sidedly liberal’.

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