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4-party Dutch coalition clinches government plan 208 days after election

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is set to present plans for a four-party coalition government after 208 days of negotiations, The Guardian reported, citing local media.

The deal between Rutte's business-friendly VVD, the progressive D66 and two Christian parties, the CDA and the more conservative Christian Union, would give the government a majority of one seat in the 150-seat Dutch parliament, which is divided between 13 parties.

Rutte is expected to present the coalition to parliament on Oct. 9, and, if approved by MPs, a new cabinet could be appointed by the week ending Oct. 23.

The four parties reportedly agreed on policies for key matters including tax, sick pay, welfare payments for refugees and defense and education spending. But the alliance may be strained by their differing stances on issues ranging from abortion to the Dutch membership of the euro, the The Guardian noted.

The negotiation period since elections March 15 surpassed the previous record in modern Dutch history of 207 days to form a government, set in 1977, and compared to an average wait of 72 days, the newspaper said.

"We will all go to our political groups, but I think there is a good agreement to form a government," Rutte told reporters in The Hague.