March 23, 2017 / 11:39 AM / 5 months ago

Dutch Green Left to participate in coalition talks

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Exploratory talks on forming a new Dutch coalition government will include the Green Left party, which made huge gains in last week's election in the Netherlands, its leader said on Thursday.

Jesse Klaver said it was unclear if the discussions would succeed, but that he will aim to stick to the party's ideals, including higher spending on renewable energy and accepting refugees.

"We are prepared, as Green Left, to talk further with other parties to see if the significant differences between us can be bridged," Klaver said.

The Greens would help Prime Minister Mark Rutte's liberal VVD party reach a majority of seats in parliament as part of a coalition with the right-of-centre Christian Democrats and the progressive Democrats 66.

Major compromises, notably on the thorny issue of immigration, will have to be made if the Greens are to share power with Rutte's VVD, which campaigned on a promise of zero immigration.

"This is far from the ideal coalition for us," Klaver said. "There are all kinds of parties in it with whom our differences are very great, but we're going to look and see if these differences are bridgeable and we can realise our ideals."

Negotiations could take weeks, or even months, during which Rutte's government will continue to function in a "caretaker" status.

Reporting By Anthony Deutsch and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Catherine Evans

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