- Category: Election 2012
- Created on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 12:14
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Roemer told TV show Nieuwsuur he wanted to avoid a repeat of the situation under Mark Rutte’s cabinet, which was supported by a ‘tolerance agreement’ (gedoogakkord) with Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders.
“Either you’re in or you’re not in,” he said, explaining that otherwise “you put a party in a position where it can scream and shout whatever it wants without being held responsible”.
The deal struck between Rutte and Wilders followed an election in which the largest party, the Liberals (VVD), managed barely more than a fifth of the seats in Parliament.
Designed to avoid the inherent instability of multi-party coalitions, it lasted barely 18 months before Wilders withdrew his party’s support over proposals to cut public spending further.
It also left Rutte in a quandary on issues such as the PVV’s ‘shop-a-migrant’ website, as the Prime Minister came under pressure both at home and in Europe to denounce the initiative.
His reply – that he could not be held responsible for another party’s policies – cemented the impression that the deal gave the PVV a licence to cause trouble.
However, some analysts say Roemer is being premature in dismissing out the prospect of a minority government once the vote are counted.
“As the political centre continues to crumble and splinter – the two parties on the flanks [SP and PVV] can expect to gain more than a third of the seats in Parliament – the chances increase that a minority coalition with a tolerance partner on the flanks will be needed,” wrote Jeroen Visser in De Volkskrant.
Opinion polls suggest the Socialists remain on course to become the largest party in the Netherlands, but with only about 35 of the 150 seats in Parliament.
The most likely coalition partners, the Labour Party (PvdA) and Christian Democrats (CDA), would only give Roemer another 30 to 35 deputies, leaving him short of a majority.
Depending on how the minor parties fared, the choice would then be between finding a fourth partner from the GreenLeft group, D66 or the Christian Union (CU). The alternatives would be a minority government or a ‘grand coalition’ with Rutte’s VVD group, a prospect that neither party’s supporters are keen on.
Wilders has said his party would be prepared to support another coalition along the same lines, though he has conceded that there is little enthusiasm at the moment for a second ‘tolerance agreement’.
But the PVV leader also said the picture could change after the election. “I realise that a lot of parties are excluding the PVV, but I also know, because I’ve been around for long enough, that the political reality on September 13 can be very different from September 12.”