According to Remkes, the formation has not become easier, Rutte hopes for a breakthrough
The formation puzzle has not gotten any easier in recent days, with the resignation of Sigrid Kaag (D66) and Ank Bijleveld (CDA) as outgoing ministers, “says informateur Johan Remkes.
“But that is perhaps why it is good that we take a little longer in this relaxed environment to primarily talk about the situation that has arisen and about the content”, Remkes said upon arrival. Content still comes first, he says.
He is very confident that he can take good steps this weekend with the three parties towards a minority government. “If I went here with great distrust, I shouldn’t have come.” But otherwise, the VVD-prominent wants to wait and see what the weekend brings.
It was very bad between Kaag and Rutte
At the Zwaluwenberg estate, the party leaders will first discuss the content with Remkes, the informateur himself declares. But according to Remkes’ predecessor, Mariëtte Hamer, the problem is not the content, but the personal relationships. The mutual relationship between Rutte and Kaag is “a lot better”, says Rutte when asked. The contact has been smoother, especially in the past ten days. That follows “some hassle in recent weeks”.
Reportedly things were very bad between the two liberal party leaders. In a lecture, almost two weeks ago, Kaag once again lashed out at Rutte and his “arranging and zipping without vision”. As far as Kaag is concerned, the caretaker cabinet cannot stay on too long. “I think it is clear, with the caretaker status of the cabinet, that they are on their last ends.”
The urgency to quickly form a new coalition has increased because the outgoing cabinet has lost two more ministers in recent days, according to Kaag. “Hurry has become a superfluous word.”
Rutte starts the weekend with confidence
VVD leader Mark Rutte hopes that the weekend will bring “the prospect of a breakthrough”. Rutte thinks it “would be really nice” if there was a turning point this weekend. “But can you achieve a breakthrough fairly quickly after the weekend? I hope to see that.”
The past week has made it possible for many involved to feel even more urgency to finally take steps in the formation, six months after the elections. “Everyone really sees it as important that a cabinet is formed quickly,” says Rutte.
Rutte “cannot estimate” what the departure of Kaag and Bijleveld means for the formation. “We’ll see,” says Rutte. CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra meanwhile believes that this does something “with the dynamics in the cabinet”. “And it also does something in the dynamics of the parties.” It appears that Bijleveld was not informed in advance that Kaag would announce her resignation in the House. But the formation has already lasted so long that, according to Hoekstra, the party leaders “must put our own feelings and emotions aside for a while and now have to see what we can do with the three of us”.
Hoekstra: We all have to give in a little
Hoekstra is “eager to see if we can take steps this weekend”. Rutte, Kaag and himself are impatient six months after the elections, but the same applies to most Dutch people, according to Hoekstra. “And that requires a bit of complacency from all of us. That also requires all of us to take responsibility.”
Although the CDA leader starts the formation weekend optimistically, he is also cautious at the same time. “I have often thought in recent weeks and months that we were very close to a decisive moment,” says Hoekstra about the difficult formation.