Tjeenk Willink: negotiating formation cannot be fully disclosed

Tomorrow and Friday Tjeenk Willink will talk to the seventeen parties in the House of Representatives. It does not go from large to small in order, as usual, but from small to large. He does this because they have a ‘fresh perspective to develop a new management style’. So first it is the turn of the one-man fractions.

‘Pure publicity does not exist’

On the eve of his first talks, he announced that the cabinet formation will not be made public. “Negotiations in pure openness do not exist.”

Tjeenk Willink must see if the crisis of confidence in political The Hague can be solved and the formation can be pulled out of the doldrums, after scout Kajsa Ollongren was photographed two weeks ago with a formation memo under her arm. It read, among other things: ‘Omtzigt: function elsewhere?’

In an effort to get to the bottom of the matter, the House eventually agreed to reveal all accounts of the conversations the former scouts had with the faction leaders. But that does not mean that the cabinet formation led by Tjeenk Willink will also be public, he says. “I do not rule out saying at some point: are there things we should discuss privately?”

Backroom politics

In the worst case, he even asks the official support to go outside for a while. That ‘happens in every successful company’, says the minister of state. According to him, it does not mean that there is backroom politics. “There are sometimes things you don’t have to write down at all. People like to reflect with someone who doesn’t have to explain everything to you.”

Tjeenk Willink, who was also an informateur at three previous cabinets, already warns that he has a ‘fairly wonderful memory’. “I remember a lot of things that are irrelevant, I forget other important things and someone else has to remind me.”

‘Not a boarded-up coalition agreement’

Whichever parties enter a new cabinet, they will not have to record their mutual agreements in a boarded-up coalition agreement, he further said. The discussion about an independent House of Representatives and a more transparent management style also calls for a different coalition agreement.

Tjeenk Willink is given three weeks to break through the stalemate that has arisen. Under the new informateur, trust between Rutte and the parties must be restored. If that fails, Rutte is prepared to lead the VVD faction from the opposition.

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