Talk talk: Dutch coalition negotiations set new record

Oct 28, 2021, 1:34 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2021, 1:35 am

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. European Union leaders conclude a two-day summit on Friday in which they discuss issues such as climate change, the energy crisis, COVID-19 developments and migration. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

(Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Talks to hammer out a new ruling Dutch coalition broke the record Friday for the longest post-election government formation negotiations — 226 days and counting.

The previous Dutch record was held by the last government, which was made up of the same four parties currently trying to broker agreements on a policy blueprint for a new four-year term.

The drawn-out talks reflect the fractured Dutch political landscape that emerged from the March 17 general election in which 17 parties won at least one seat in the 150-seat lower house of parliament. Leaders also are seeking to bridge ideological differences ranging from how to tackle the climate crisis to euthanasia policy.

“There are more talks next week and probably more after that,” caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Dutch broadcaster NOS as he headed into coalition talks Thursday. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”

After months of stop-start negotiations involving parties from across the political spectrum, the talks have narrowed down to the same four parties, led by three-term prime minister Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, that formed the last coalition.

Rutte’s previous administration resigned shortly before the election to take political responsibility for a scandal involving the country’s tax department wrongly labelling as fraudsters thousands of parents claiming child benefits.

Despite his resignation, Rutte remains popular among Dutch voters and his conservative party again emerged victorious from the elections, winning just under 22% of the vote. That means he is in line for a fourth term as prime minister and set to become the country’s longest-serving leader.

On Friday, he was holding talks with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in The Hague ahead of the G-20 meeting in Rome and the United Nations climate summit known as COP26, both of which Rutte is attending.

In September, Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag, who was part of the Cabinet that quit in January, resigned again from her caretaker role over the chaotic Dutch evacuations from Afghanistan following the Taliban’s power grab.

But Kaag remains leader of the second biggest party in parliament, the centrist, pro-European D66, and is a key player in the ongoing coalition negotiations.

In the absence of a coalition, Rutte’s last administration is governing in caretaker mode — meaning it can’t make major policy decisions.

It does, however, continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and ministers were meeting Friday to discuss what measures are needed to rein in a recent surge in infections.

While it has taken a long time to form the government, the Dutch still have a way to go to beat the record of neighboring Belgium. In December 2011, Belgium cobbled together a government after 541 days of negotiations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announces a new federal office of envir...
Associated Press

Biden administration launches environmental justice office

WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) — Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to […]
12 hours ago
FILE - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vuci...
Associated Press

EU candidate Serbia and Russia sign foreign policy agreement

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia has signed an agreement with Russia for mutual “consultations” on foreign policy matters, the Balkan country’s media reported Saturday. Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic signed the agreement Friday along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, where most […]
2 days ago
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General A...
Associated Press

On Ukraine, Russia repeats insistence that it had no choice

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia made its case to the world Saturday for its war in Ukraine, repeating a series of grievances about its neighbor and the West to tell the U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders that Moscow had “no choice” but to take military action. At the heart of Foreign Minister Sergey […]
2 days ago
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Defense Department shows Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo. The solide...
Associated Press

Soldier who went missing during Korean War accounted for

BOSTON (AP) — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War and was later reported to have died in a prisoner of war camp has been accounted for using modern scientific techniques, military officials said. Army Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo, 19, of East Boston, was accounted for in August, according to a […]
2 days ago
FILE - Roger Waters performs at the United Center on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Chicago. Polish med...
Associated Press

Pink Floyd founder cancels Poland concerts after war remarks

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has canceled concerts planned in Poland amid outrage over his stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, Polish media reported Saturday. An official with the Tauron Arena in Krakow, where Waters was scheduled to perform two concerts in April, said they would no longer take place. “Roger […]
2 days ago
A model wears a creation as part of the Dolce & Gabbana women's Spring Summer 2023 collection prese...
Associated Press

Kim Kardashian culls Dolce & Gabbana archives for Milan show

MILAN (AP) — Kim Kardashian took Milan by storm on Saturday, curating a new collection for Dolce & Gabbana that took inspiration from 20 years of archival looks. It was a day of debuts in Milan, including Maximilian Davis, a 27-yeaer-old British designer with Afro-Caribbean roots, at the creative helm of Salvatore Ferragamo and Filipino […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Talk talk: Dutch coalition negotiations set new record