Dutch elections: coalition government formed


Leader of the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD) Mark Rutte (C) answers journalists' questions as he leaves the parliament building in The Hague on Oct. 25, 2012.



In the Netherlands, the Liberal party announced today that it will form a coalition government with the Labour party that is pro-austerity and pro-Europe, the Guardian reported.

The Liberals won 41 of the 150 seats up for grabs in the country’s Sept. 12 parliamentary election, while Labour won 38 seats, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte, leader of the Liberal party, will keep his job, and Labour MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem will replace Jan Kees de Jager as finance minister, according to the Guardian. The new government will be sworn in next week.

According to the Guardian:

Rutte and the Labour leader, Diederik Samsom, reached a deal more quickly than expected, underlining the urgency of the European crisis and the fragile state of the Dutch economy.

The two parties said they would cut state spending by 16 billion Euro and balance the government budget by 2017, the Guardian reported. The previous government introduced a 12 billion Euro austerity program in the spring, which contributed to its loss at the polls, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Political analysts told the Wall Street Journal that they expected the new government to continue to be hard on struggling economies in the eurozone. "It is tough to justify spending cuts in health care and social security, when you are also sending money to Europe," Marcel Boogers, a political scientist at Tilburg University, told the Wall Street Journal. "I expect the new government will remain very critical, especially when the problems in Greece, Spain and Portugal persist."