Negotiations for a coalition government in the Netherlands

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details May-October 2017
Publication Date 10/10/2017
Content Type

Further information:

The first set of parties negotiating a coalition government included centre-right and centrist parties, together with the left-wing Green Party. While their ideological backgrounds are substantially different (including on climate change and income inequality), it was a deep disagreement on the migration policy and the cooperation developed by the European Union and its neighbours on this matter that forced the collapse of the talks on 15 May.

A fresh effort was tried later in the month with different parties only to collapse shortly afterwards, again due to great political disagreements. This second set of political forces comprised the centrist D66 party and the Christian Union, with opposing views on medical-ethical matters, for example.

A new chief negotiator Hermann Tjeenk Willink began working on creating a governing coalition on the 31 May 2017. However, talks collapsed once again on 12 June 2017 as the Greens walked away over migration policies. Mr Willink eventually resigned on 26 June. Gerrit Zalm was the replacement for the mediation.

The far-right PVV party, which came second in the election, was open to take part in the negotiations but no other parties saw any use in that, because of the great differences amongst them.

The VVD party won the election on 15 March 2017, securing 33 of a very fragmented 150 seat lower house of the Dutch parliament.

This feature follows the lengthy negotiations undertaken between several political parties in the Netherlands to reach an agreement for a coalition government. The negotiations were a result of an inconclusive outcome for the legislative election held on 15 March 2017, giving the victory to the incumbent VVD party but also producing great parliamentary fragmentation.

News sources reported in early October 2017 that incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte was likely to announce a complex and possibly fragile four party coalition imminently. These sources also reported that 208 days after the March election on the 9 October 2017 with no new government announcement meant a new Dutch record for the length of time to negotiate a coalition.

For background election on the Dutch 2017 election click here

Related Links, 22.05.17: Coalition with ChristenUnie is the only option, chief negotiator says
Politico, 22.05.17: Dutch liberals call for five-party coalition government
Reuters, 22.05.17: Dutch government talks to focus on right-wing coalition
EUObserver, 24.05.17: Dutch coalition talks collapse again
Politico, 15.05.17: Dutch coalition talks have failed, says official
BBC News, 16.05.17: Dutch four-way coalition talks collapse over migration
Bloomberg, 15.05.17: Dutch Must Restart Coalition Talks After Collapse on Immigration
EUObserver, 16.05.17: Dutch coalition talks collapse two months after elections
Reuters, 15.05.17: Dutch government coalition talks break down over immigration, 15.05.17: Talks on forming a new Dutch government collapse over immigration, 23.05.17: Coalition talks stall: ChristenUnie and D66 decide not to work together
GroenLinks: Nieuws, 15.05.17: Formatie vastgelopen: Onze strijd voor verandering gaat door
VVD: Nieuws, 15.05.17: Besprekingen nieuwe kabinet vastgelopen
ChristenUnie: Blog, 18.05.17: Advies ChristenUnie verkennende ronde informateur Schippers
Politico, 29.05.17: Dutch coalition negotiator quits
Blog: LSE EuroppBlog, 31.05.17: No longer going steady, but playing the field: Trade unions and the decline of social democracy
Dutch, 31.05.17: Dutch coalition talks poised to restart with a clean slate
Politico, 13.06.17: Greens ditch Dutch government talks again over migration
Euro|Topics: Debates, June 2017: Dutch still without a government
Dutch, 13.06.17: Prime minister ‘very disappointed’ at collapse of talks with GroenLinks
Deutsche Welle, 14.06.17: Dutch disarray: Rutte can't forge cabinet in Netherlands
Dutch, 15.06.17: 90 days on, a majority cabinet is still the aim, negotiator says
EUObserver, 21.07.17: Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
Politico, 05.10.17: O Dutch government, where art thou?
Dutch, 07.10.17: More coalition leaks: what do we know about the new cabinet’s plans so far?
Politico, 09.10.17: Dutch coalition partners agree on government deal, seek party backing
Euro|Topics: Debates, October 2017: Dutch have a new governing coalition
Dutch, 11.10.17: The new Dutch coalition is a marriage of convenience, say the leader writers

Countries / Regions