Geert Wilders has announced that he is pulling out of talks to form a coalition government. He said his anti-Islam PVV party will not support a Liberal (VVD)-Christian Democrat (CDA) cabinet because he no longer has confidence in the latter.Wilders had asked the three dissidents sign a written statement saying that if the CDA party conference would adopt the covenant, the three would either drop their resistance or make their seats available to CDA MP's that would. Maxime Verhagen (p. above right) rejected this request on constitutional grounds (in the Dutch constitution a parliamentarians freedom of action without burden or consultation is enshrined. A request like the one Wilders made could infringe on that freedom). But general opinion is that asking for a declaration from these three would send the CDA in a terminal crisis. Either way, the request, understandable though it is, means that the basis if trust needed for successful negotiations has vanished. And with it the opportunity for a real right-wing cabinet.
VVD leader Mark Rutte (p. at the press conference) has stated he will now proceed with writing a covenant by himself, based on the rounds of negotiations that have been. After making this new covenant available he will see which parties want to enter negotiations for a cabinet.
If the Queen lets him, of course. Formateur Ivo Opstelten will finish his report and offer it to the Queen this weekend, after which she will decide the next course of action. Which may well be new elections. A new stroll into the voting booth has become quite likely all of a sudden.
photos courtesy of GeenStijl
[UPDATE001] If you read Dutch: De Volkskrant has a nice piece up describing what went on behind the closed door where the CDA fraction were fighting out their differences and the evntual break-up of the negotiations. If I get around to it, I'll translate the key passages from that article. But I promise nothing.