Disgruntled Dutch Christian Democrats continue to voice their objections to joining a minority government which relies on parliamentary support of Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party.
Former MP Jan Schinkelshoek has announced he is leaving national politics altogether because he is "unhappy" about the coalition talks with the Freedom Party. "I deem such a coalition disastrous both for the country and for the [Christian Democrat CDA] party," the widely respected ex-MP wrote to his fellow CDA members in parliament.
Mr Schinkelshoek, who is 56, did not gain a seat in the 9 June 2010 elections when his party polled only 14 percent of the votes. He was, however, still invited as an advisor to meetings of the CDA group of MPs, a position which he is now giving up, saying "I can neither influence the direction the talks are taking, nor do I want to legitimise them through my presence".
Party chairman Henk Bleeker voiced his concern on the CDA website about the barrage of criticism directed at the coalition negotiations by senior Christian Democrats, including former prime ministers, MPs and councillors. He held a series of talks with individual party members to gauge the divisions at grass roots level.
The party is negotiating with the free-market liberal VVD party to form a minority government which will nonetheless have majority support in parliament since Geert Wilders' Freedom Party has pledged to act as a sleeping partner in the government. Together, the three have a one-seat majority in the 150-member Lower House.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide