Party leader Dilan Yeşilgöz (VVD) announced this morning that she does not want to join a cabinet because her party has lost many seats. However, she is prepared to support a centre-right cabinet as a tolerating partner. She explained her decision on Nieuwsuur. “The voter has indicated that things must be different. We have lost 10 seats. I think that we can better take on our role from the Chamber.”
In particular, the moment at which the VVD announced this decision, before negotiations had taken place, aroused criticism. Yeşilgöz himself thinks it is “clear” to other parties to already indicate that the VVD does not want to continue on the same footing as in recent years in which the party has governed. “We are putting an end to the automatism of always carrying on, not thinking about what the citizen is really saying here. The signal is clear: do not continue as it was.”
VVD supporters are criticizing the decision not to co-govern. For example, a club of VVD members called Klassiek Liberaal does not agree with the party’s move. VVD chairman of Barendrecht, Leon van Noort: “Just participate. If there is a moment when you as a VVD can realize your election manifesto with parties that think the same way, then it is now. Van Noort hears this sound from many VVD ‘ers.
Yeşilgöz: “I cannot agree more. I will participate, but there is a difference between taking responsibility and participating and by definition always co-govern in the sense of: we supply ministers.”
But according to Van Noort, that is not the way of taking responsibility that he would like to see. “If you now say, we are not going to be at the wheel, you are taking a vacation from responsibility.”
Is this a sincere decision by the VVD or a strategy to ultimately get more out of the negotiations? According to Van Noort, it does not tend towards the latter. “If this is a tactic, then it is not a useful tactic. People have indicated that they are fed up and do not want any more political games,” says Van Noort.
Yeşilgöz says she is not playing politics. The coming weeks will show how steadfast the party is in its decision to support a government only as a tolerating partner.
Surprise among party leaders
PVV leader Wilders reacted with disappointment to Yeşilgöz’s rejection. “I don’t understand it, but let’s hope it can be done in another way.” Omtzigt is also surprised: “The VVD left the last cabinet because of the migration position, because they could not arrange it. Now they actually say ‘now we don’t have to arrange it’. The VVD has always been in the cabinet since 2010. That was always the largest party and always led by Prime Minister Rutte.
The VVD faction discussed yesterday and this morning whether the party should co-govern. This resulted in the party preferring to see its role as a tolerating partner in a cabinet of the PVV, NSC and BBB, according to Yeşilgöz. “I am putting a form of tolerance on the table. It is up to others to say what they want with it.”
During the campaign, Yeşilgöz did not rule out a government with GroenLinks-PvdA, but if Timmermans had become the largest, the VVD would not have supported a cabinet led by Timmermans with this loss of 10 seats, according to Yeşilgöz. She would prefer to see a minority cabinet with PVV, NSC and BBB, in which the VVD acts as a tolerating partner.
If the VVD is going to negotiate a tolerance agreement with the PVV, there are points where the parties are far apart. For example, the PVV wants a Nexit, the state pension back to 65 and the abolition of the deductible. “It is of course up to Mr Wilders which positions he brings to the table, but I certainly see possibilities with this party. Also when it comes to attention for middle groups, entrepreneurs and when it comes to issues such as migration. This must be addressed .”
At the proposal of the PVV, a scout was appointed this morning with the approval of other faction leaders: PVV senator Gom van Strien. From Monday he will talk to the party leaders of all political parties in the House of Representatives.