Another One Bites the Dust: The Dutch Government (Parliament Coalition) Collapses over the issue of staying in Afghanistan Saturday morning.
The Dutch had been scheduled to end their participation in NATO’s mission in Afghanistan in August of 2010, with their troops to be out by December, but had been asked to stay longer. Concerns over the Dutch budget deficit, which meant that either tax hikes or spending cuts were looming, doomed the coalition led by Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s government.
“I unfortunately note that there is no longer a fruitful path for the Christian Democrats, Labor Party and Christian Union to go forward,” Balkenende, who leads the center-right Christian Democrats, told reporters.
Balkenende wanted to extend the Dutch troop deployment in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan past an August deadline, but Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos’s Labor Party opposed any extension.
Parliamentary elections to form a new government could be held by the summer, but establishing a functional coalition between 4 or 5 parties to get a majority may take some finangling.
The Dutch have been participating in NATO’s Afghanistan occupation since 2006, and have lost 21 troops out of about 2000 deployed.