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Dutch parties reach coalition deal after marathon talks

by editor

AMSTERDAM — Four Dutch parties reached a coalition deal Monday, bringing an end to the country’s longest talks to form a government and paving the way for Mark Rutte to serve a fourth term as prime minister.

Serving another full term would make Rutte the country’s longest-serving prime minister. Negotiations between Rutte’s liberal VVD, the centrist D66, the Christian Democratic CDA and the Christian Union (CU) spanned 271 days after March’s national election. The deal must now be reviewed by each party’s parliamentary group for approval.

“We have a great accord on the table, but how it’s put into practice is what really matters,” Rutte told reporters. When pressed on the agreement’s content, Rutte stressed that it will be unveiled on Wednesday. “As negotiators, we have come to an accord, but it still has to go to the parties, through parliament. So we are not done yet.”  

Talks hit a major snag early on, after Rutte was accused of not telling the truth about remarks made during coalition discussions. He was subsequently censured in parliament and narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in April.

The Christian Union’s leader, Gert-Jan Segers, initially vowed not to join a fourth Rutte cabinet, while D66 leader and former Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag had urged Rutte at the time to resign.

The parties eventually came back together to relaunch coalition talks in earnest in October — about seven months after the election.

This article has been updated with remarks from Mark Rutte.

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