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Lessons from Dutch Coalition Negotiations

Lessons from Dutch Coalition Negotiations


April 21, 2024


I read the article in Vrij Nederland by Dieuwertje Kuijpers, "Formatie is uitruil van standpunten en partijambities" (Kuijpers, 2024). It's about coalition negotiations and, although it has been a few weeks, the coalition formation in the Netherlands is not yet concluded. This, in itself, is not unique to the Netherlands, yet this particular coalition negotiation is remarkable. It makes me think about how things will unfold in Curaçao after the elections in the summer of 2025.

Kuijpers talks about radio silence but still being able to discern something about the process. Political parties do not all pursue the same goals at the negotiation table. It remains a power struggle, a game of strategy. There is talk about a minority government. In a minority government, both coalition and opposition parties can assert themselves, and it would allow for more separation of powers between the government and parliament.

Netherlands no longer has big parties; instead, there is a range of medium-sized and small parties competing with each other during elections. What makes the latest election results even more interesting is that currently, three relatively new parties are at the negotiation table. There is a silent presumption that accompanies the composition of the negotiations. But besides the parties, we also need to look at the voters. No party can be certain of its voters anymore.

This brings me to the upcoming elections in Curaçao. Parties are gearing up for the final phase of the perpetual election battle. None of the parties seem strong. Even the ruling parties are not making an impression, but there don't seem to be any alternatives either. So, it is doubtful whether the 2025 elections will be a game-changer.

Miguel Goede

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