After months of uncertainty, it is finally certain: there will be a cabinet Rutte-IV. Sophie Hermans (VVD) and Rob Jetten (D66) had a striking role in the negotiations.
The young secondants of party leaders Mark Rutte and Sigrid Kaag together wrote the basis for the agreement. How do they look back on the long formation?
First back to the moment when a cabinet Rutte-IV seemed farther away than ever: the formation debate of 1 April. Confidential documents showed that Rutte had talked about a “position elsewhere” for Pieter Omtzigt during talks with the scouts, while he had previously denied it.
Ultimately, all parties – except the VVD – voted for a motion of censure against the Prime Minister. A motion of mistrust didnt make it just, although the entire opposition voted in favour. Rutte decided to continue as Prime Minister.
Hermans has never found that Rutte should step up as a result of these events, she now tells Nieuwsuur. “I thought it was very intense about what happened in April, but I didnt think that. Of course, we talked a lot about what happened and how to proceed. But that Rutte would leave has never been addressed.”
Knocked with doors
During the 1 April debate, D66 leader Kaag said “here separate our ways” to Rutte. She later indicated that she would have resigned in Ruttes position. Nevertheless, she finally decided to sit down the formation table with Rutte again.
“It was a difficult choice to say: were ready to talk anyway,” says Jetten. “We talked about that for a long time in the group. Kaag said: we have to get back to work on the content six, seven months after the election. I thought that was cool.”
It was awkward at the beginning to sit back at the table, says Jetten. “But personally, I think: we are not in politics to make friends in The Hague, we are pursuing ideals.”
“We have also had substantive conversations in recent weeks where doors and tables have been beaten. Ive been angry more often in the past three months than in the last three years, because I was really excited that we didnt get any further on substantive themes.
Pieter Omtzigt. the MP for whom a “position elsewhere” had to be sought, recently returned to the House after a sick leave. At that time, he was already very critical of the duration of the formation:
How do the secondants look at the long duration and the difficult course of the formation afterwards? “A lot of things have happened that are not good for the trust and view of politics. Thats what I care about,” says Hermans. “At the same time there is an agreement There are ambitions, I want to work with that.”
“When I look back, Ive sometimes felt cynical about politics,” says Jetten. “I was ashamed of the harshness of the debate, playing on the man and that as a politics we couldnt decide who we wanted to rule with. In the coming years, we will have to recoup trust.”
What their personal role will be in the coming cabinet period is not yet clear. Jetten does not know yet whether he will return to the House or take a role in the cabinet. “The last few weeks have been all about the content, we still have to think about the staff occupation. Its up to my party leader Sigrid Kaag to determine where she wants me.”
Hermans stays in the House of Representatives anyway, she says. Whether she continues to hold her role as group chairman, she does not know yet. “Ive found it honorable and special in recent months.”