Dutch government on point of collapse
The Dutch government looks on the point of collapse today after negotiations aimed at reducing the budget deficit to fit in with European Commission demands collapsed on Saturday.
The government currently comprises three parties led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). They have 31 seats in the 150 seat House of Representatives and have been supported by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) with 21 seats and Party for Freedom (PVV) with 24 seats.
The Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders is a Eurosceptic party and has objected to the imposition of the budget cuts by the European Union. They say the cuts will hurt ordinary people and that the country should pull out of the Euro and return to the Gilder.
Negotiations to find around €16 billion in cuts had looked almost certain until the PVV pulled out of the talks on Saturday. The second largest party in the parliament, the Labour Party (PvdA) has called for a general election.
Mark Rutte has the choice of trying to put together a new coalition, which seems unlikely, trying to pass the budget with opposition support or asking Queen Beatrix to call a fresh election.
Reuters is reporting that an opinion poll published this weekend suggests that there would still be a highly fragmented parliament, there are currently ten parties in the House of Representatives, but that Rutte’s the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy would come out on top, possibly with a slightly increased number of seats.