The Dutch government negotiations collapsed last night as Pieter Omtzigt, New Social Contract (NSC) party leader, withdrew from coalition talks, citing concerns over public finances.
The centre-right NSC party said it was only made aware of crucial financial information on Monday afternoon, despite negotiations leader, Ronald Plasterk, having prior awareness, the party alleged in a statement released last night
In light of this, NSC decided it cannot continue discussions as its financial expectations have changed and it does not “want to make promises to Dutch people, which it knows in advance are empty promises”, the statement continued.
Plasterk refuted accusations of delayed disclosure of information and finds the whole situation confusing, he told NOS.
The decision comes days after Plasterk told the press that “time is running out” for cabinet talks between the Party for Freedom (PVV), People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Farmer–Citizen Movement (BBB), and NSC.
NSC’s withdrawal is a significant setback in the attempt to form a more right-winged government, led by Geert Wilders, whose far-right party, PVV, claimed 37 seats in parliament last November.
Wilders took to X to express his “disappointment”: “The Netherlands wants this cabinet and now Pieter #Omtzigt is throwing in the towel while we were still in discussions until today. I don’t understand it at all.”
Also on X last night, VVD leader, Dilan Yeşilgöz, declared to be “very surprised” at Omtzigt’s decision, as she believed the parties to be “in the middle of constructive conversations”
NSC has not fully ruled out its involvement in cabinet negotiations and states it’s open to supporting a minority or extra-parliamentary cabinet.
“For now, the work for NSC has been completed in this round and New Social Contract is awaiting the report from Plasterk,” NSC’s press statement concluded.
It is unclear as of yet what the next step for a Dutch coalition will be. A meeting is planned for tonight between Plasterk and PVV, VVD, and BBB leaders. Omtzig declined an invitation to attend.