Four of the country’s main parties, including prime minister Mark Rutte’s conservatives (VVD), agreed to break off the negotiations after no progress was made on key issues.
The Netherlands has now gone 70 days without a government since March’s crunch election, which provided the EU with temporary relief when the eurosceptic Geert Wilders failed to make significant gains. However, the anti-Islam firebrand could now get a second bite at the cherry with the differences between the other main parties seemingly too cavernous to bridge.
Mr Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) is the second largest in the country with 20 seats but has been locked out of coalition talks because all others are refusing to work with it.
Despite what many analysts saw as a disappointing showing for the far-right leader he still picked up five additional seats in March’s contest, whilst Mr Rutte’s conservatives remained the biggest party despite losing eight.
The centre-right, eurosceptic Christian Democrats (CDA) also did well in the election, adding six seats, meaning that the anti-Brussels vote grew overall despite Mr Wilders losing out.
Brussels, meanwhile, took heart from the improved performance of pro-EU parties such as the Greens and the centrist Democrats 66 (D66) as the Dutch electorate fractured and the Labour party vote collapsed.
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