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Balkenende says social solidarity focus of new coalition
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday February 7, 2007

The Hague- The coalition accord presented Wednesday by the three Dutch parties forming the new governing coalition signalled a move towards a stronger welfare state and away from the tentative economic liberalization of recent years. A government motto of "Working together, living together," was presented by the leaders of the parties, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Christian Democrats (CDA), Wouter Bos of the Labour Party (PvdA) and Andre Rouvoet of the Christian Union (CU).

The new coalition brings together the main centrist parties - the CDA and the PvdA - with the minority CU, a party that combines an emphasis on social economic policy with orthodox Christian approaches to moral issues.

Queen Beatrix, as constitutional monarch, has yet to name a "formateur" - or prime minister-designate - but that role is certain to fall to Balkenende, as leader of the largest party with 41 seats in the 150-seat parliament.

Presenting the coalition's programme, Balkenende said the government's aims centred on "respect, solidarity and sustainability."

"These elements bind us together and form the basis of the accord," he said.

The accord also emphasized a competitive economy, security, effective central government and an emphasis on drawing in all members of society, the CDA leader said, as he prepared to form his fourth consecutive cabinet.

Bos, whose PvdA secured 33 seats in the November 22 elections, is to be deputy prime minister as well as holding a major ministerial post, thought by observers to be at the Finance Ministry.

The CU enters government for the first time after gaining six seats, and Rouvoet was also named deputy prime minister.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency