More than six months ago, on 17 March, the current coalition of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie again reached a majority in the House of Representatives. It is special that the electorate does not punish the incumbent cabinet in elections, but seems to urge to continue in the same composition.
Nice easy, you might think. But a week after the election, things go wrong.
On March 25, ANP photographer Bart Maat takes a picture of scout Ollongren (D66), who rushed out of the Binnenhof after a positive corona test. The notes under her arm read: “Position Omtzigt, function elsewhere.”
VVD leader Rutte first says he didnt talk to the scouts about the critical CDA MP. But that turns out to be the case later. “You have to do something with Omtzigt, Minister,” noted officials who attended the conversation.
In a long, heavy debate, the Prime Minister says he has “a wrong memory” of his conversation with the scouts and that he did not lie. But on the night of April 1 to 2, he still gets a motion of censure from his coalition mates D66 and CDA. It is adopted with broad support, only his own VVD votes against.
D66 leader Kaag says after the debate that she had drawn her conclusions, if she was Rutte, “But Im another person.” And she also shows that a few months later, if she does resign as minister after a motion of censure.
ChristenUnion leader Segers takes a little later in April by saying that something has been snapped with him, which prevents him from collaborating with Rutte. He later takes that back and says he played too much on the man. But the comment hasnt improved the mutual sphere in the meantime.
The declined trust in Prime Minister Rutte is not the only problem in this formation. D66 leader Kaag wants to exude new leadership and has promised her voters that a more progressive wind will blow. She says she doesnt want to be in a cabinet with the Christian Union anymore, because she finally wants to take steps on medical-ethical issues such as complete life, which have been parked over the past reign.
The CDA has problems of its own. After a controversial leader election, the winner, Hugo de Jonge, soon transfers the baton to Wopke Hoekstra, who previously announced that he does not want to become a party leader. The campaign is running smoothly and in the election the CDA loses four of the nineteen remaining seats.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament Omtzigt, who is sitting at home in a span, revoke his membership of the party. He has been a one-man group in the Chamber since mid-September.
Six parties left
In principle, there are six parties that want to participate in a new cabinet. These are VVD and D66, the two winners of the elections, CDA, PvdA, GroenLinks and the ChristenUnie. But there are all kinds of blockages between them. D66 does not want with the ChristenUnie, VVD and CDA do not want to have two left-wing parties, while the PvdA and GroenLinks remain firmly held together.
Its the third informer, Remkes, who eventually manages to force a breakthrough. After concluding that a minority cabinet is not in it, he gets D66 so far that the party drops the blockade with the Christian Union for another period. Party leader Kaag says she prefers substantive negotiations over new elections.
That means that the four parties that already form a coalition can start negotiating a new cabinet. Theyre all saying that this has to be a different kind of cabinet. Going on like nothing happened cant be a matter of them.