07 February 2024, by Emily Proctor

Negotiations relating to the future of the Dutch government collapsed on Tuesday night, as New Social Contract (NSC) leader Pieter Omtzigt walked away from the negotiating table over financial concerns. The collapse of negotiations between Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), New Social Contract (NSC), the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) could set the clock back to the beginning and is bad news for those hoping a government would be formed soon. 

NSC raised concerns about financial plans of the proposed coalition

Pieter Omtzigt, NSC’s leader, cited concerns about the “state of public finances” as his reason for the party stepping away from coalition talks. He added that he could not support a government that would make “empty promises” to the public. 

Despite this, Omtzigt said that he would be able to support the PVV, VVD and BBB on certain issues in parliamentary votes, but not all of them. He also stated that he would support a different type of government that is still able to hold “broad support” in parliament. 

Possibility of a minority government is rising in the Netherlands

This now makes it more likely that a minority Dutch government will be formed, made up of the PVV, VVD and BBB. The other option is that there could be an alternative coalition formed by a different group of parties, though this is thought to be less likely, as protocol holds that the parties with the largest share of the vote get the first attempts to form a successful coalition.

The Dutch parliament will now decide how to respond to the collapse in talks following advice from cabinet formation informateur Ronald Plasterk.“To be honest, I don’t really understand what exactly Mr Omtzigt wants,” Plasterk said. In response to Omtzigt’s surprise departure, PVV leader Geert Wilders posted a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating that he is disappointed with the outcome. “The Netherlands wants this Cabinet, and now Pieter Omtzigt is throwing in the towel while we were still having discussions until today. I don’t understand it at all,” he added.

Image: Robert Hoetink / Shutterstock.com

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