Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Home Breaking News Formation Update: Difficult task for explorers to regain confidence | NOW
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Formation Update: Difficult task for explorers to regain confidence | NOW

The elections are over and the formation has started. We will keep you informed of the most relevant events every week in the coming period.

A week has passed since the start of the formation and we are back to square one. Two new scouts must start all over again in an effort to regain the trust of the party leaders of the newly elected parties.

Last formation week – which will not be soon forgotten – started with seventeen conversations. All party leaders visited former scouts Kajsa Ollongren (D66) and Annemarie Jorritsma (VVD) to pass on their initial wishes for a new coalition. A cake was even prepared for the party leaders of the new parties.

The preferences of the party leaders became clear during the week. Putting everything together, the differences between VVD leader Mark Rutte and D66 leader Sigrid Kaag were obvious. Rutte prefers to see JA21 or ChristenUnie sit down, while Kaag probably prefers to look at the left-wing parties. She did not mention party names, but her letter to the scouts with the most important themes that the next cabinet should tackle, was very similar to the letters from GroenLinks and PvdA.

How the cards were shuffled before the exploration hit

  • VVD leader Rutte and D66 leader Kaag have to look for two other parties
  • Rutte would in any case like to have the CDA there
  • CDA leader Hoekstra is still holding back the boat
  • Newcomer JA21 arrives on the scene
  • Rutte and JA21 leader Eerdmans express their preference for a coalition with CDA and D66
  • Kaag calls cooperation with JA21 “difficult to imagine”
  • Rutte sees another option in CU, CU leader Segers believes that it is the turn of larger parties first
  • Kaag does not mention party names, wants a progressive cabinet
  • PvdA leader Ploumen once again let it be known that he only wants to participate with other left-wing parties
  • Klaver (GroenLinks) does not rule out co-government, but wants a left cabinet
  • SP leader Marijnissen thinks that co-government is not obvious
  • PVV and FVD are still excluded by other parties

Ollongren’s blunder puts formation on edge

After a day of rest on Wednesday, the scouts were ready again on Thursday morning in the Stadhouderskamer to speak first to Rutte and then to Kaag. However, around 9 a.m., Ollongren suddenly left the building at the Binnenhof. An ANP presentphotographer then took the news photo that made the exploration hit. Ollongren, who had just been told that she had tested positive for the corona virus, was wearing visible, confidential notes under her arm.

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In particular, the dubious note “position Omtzigt: function elsewhere” caused a lot of controversy. It gave the impression that people involved in formation want to get rid of CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt. He got stuck in the benefits affair for years and has now been exhausted at home for weeks. Recently, various reports about him appeared in the media in which there were rumors about tensions between him and the CDA top.

Although everyone still wondered on Thursday morning why Ollongren was at work instead of at home while waiting for her test results, the key question four hours later was who would have brought up Omtzigt’s position during the reconnaissance.

“Bizarre, this glimpse into the notes of scout Ollongren. Subjects none of which have been discussed with me and which she is not about”, CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra responded immediately. Rutte also said on Thursday evening that he and Kaag had not mentioned Omtzigt in the formation discussions.

The House of Representatives wants clarification about the notes on MP Omtzigt

The House of Representatives wants to have the bottom stone up. Who wrote the notes? And where did the input come from? Meanwhile, the new scouts Wouter Koolmees (D66) and Tamara van Ark (VVD) have announced that the passage about the CDA Member of Parliament arose from “multiple angles, including reports in the media”.

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Despite this statement, many questions remain unanswered. Much has been written about Omtzigt in the media, but “function elsewhere” may imply more than that. It may be that the former scouts wanted to discuss the troubles within the CDA and the media reports about Omtzigt, but why “function elsewhere” was already noted is unclear. It is also not yet known who made the notes.

Koolmees and Van Ark did not answer these questions and referred them to their predecessors. Next Wednesday, the new House of Representatives has planned a debate with Ollongren and Jorritsma.

Ollongren’s notes. (Photo: ANP)

Issue will have consequences for the further development of the formation

Scouts Van Ark and Koolmees now faces the difficult task of regaining the confidence of the parties. It is unprecedented and very unfortunate that a position of a Member of Parliament is brought up for discussion in a formation.

Forming a new coalition was already a challenge, but it will now be an even harder job. The notes will certainly not have fallen well within the CDA. Apart from the Omtzigt issue, Hoekstra’s “negotiating style” was also noted as a point of attention. Rutte reckoned the CDA previously unsolicited to the coalition, the party will now not so easily join.

In addition, it was written that “left-wing parties do not really hold each other”. PvdA leader Lilianne Ploumen immediately announced after publication of the photo that the position of her party “was and is not without another left-wing party at the table”.

The negotiating position of the parties has been damaged by the Ollongren blunder and a shadow will linger over the formation.

The scouts have announced that formation discussions will only resume after Wednesday’s debate.

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