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Dutch coalition talks postponed to August as drafting of pact starts - Metro US

Dutch coalition talks postponed to August as drafting of pact starts

Debate over remarks the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made during talks to form a new government following the March 17 national elections, in The Hague

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Talks to form a new Dutch government were postponed until mid-August on Tuesday, as conservative caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the leader of the second-largest party began writing a draft coalition pact.

Rutte and Sigrid Kaag, the leader of the centre-left D-66, are expected to put together a framework for the country’s COVID-19 recovery and climate policies and will then seek support from at least two other parties to achieve a majority in parliament.

Rutte, one of Europe’s longest-serving prime ministers, had hoped to quickly embark on his fourth term in office after his VVD Party won national elections in March with 24% of the vote.

But his position came under scrutiny days later after he was accused of lying over remarks made during talks to form a cabinet.

A patchwork political landscape means Rutte may fail to garner the parliamentary support he needs.

The likely third party in his coalition, the Christian Democrats, have also lost one seat since the election with influential lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt leaving the party to sit as an independent.

The record time taken for a Dutch government to be formed after an election is 225 days, for Rutte’s previous cabinet.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling)

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