Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing, anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), has rejected an invitation to re-open negotiations about forming a right-wing cabinet. VVD leader Mark Rutte extended the invitation during a parliamentary debate on the formation of a new cabinet.
Mr Wilders refused to consider the invitation unless Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen joined the talks at the outset, although he added, "if Mr Verhagen agrees to talks, then I'm your man".
The new parliament today held a debate with Senator Uri Rosenthal, the first person appointed by Queen Beatrix to advise on the formation of a new cabinet. Mr Rosenthal told MPs that he had advised the queen that a right-wing government would be impossible to form. Senator Rosenthal delivered his final report to the queen on Friday. The following day, the Dutch monarch appointed Herman Tjeenk Willink, vice president of the Council of State and her most important adviser, as the new formation facilitator. However, he will not be negotiating a coalition agreement but has been tasked with trying to break the deadlock and bring potential partners together.
During the he televised debate, Mr Wilders complained that his party was being treated "like a pariah, a leper, and a homeless person that people would rather have standing out in the streets". Mr Wilders' PVV made the largest gains in the 9 June elections and won 24 seats.
Now that a right-wing cabinet has been ruled out again, Mr Rutte appears to be setting his sights on a "grand" cabinet, made up of the traditional large parties - his own conservative VVD, the centre-right Christian Democrats and the centre-left Labour Party.
Labour, D66 and Green Left, who are all pushing for a "purple plus" coalition with the VVD, have concluded that a right-wing cabinet is definitely impossible now that Mr Wilders has rejected the VVD’s offer. Labour leader Job Cohen told journalists, "this is a clear sign that the door to a left-wing cabinet has been slammed shut". Mr Cohen says the economic situation in the country makes it imperative to start negotiations on forming a powerful "plus" cabinet as soon as possible.
It is not clear where the formation process is at present. Mr Willink met on Monday with the leaders of the VVD, Labour, CDA, D66 and Green Left but most of the politicians were reluctant to divulge any details about their meetings. No talks were scheduled for today.