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Dutch Crisis Talks Resume              12/18 06:33

   THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- Crisis talks aimed at salvaging a 
cost-cutting Dutch health reform package and staving off the possible collapse 
of the country's 2-year-old ruling coalition are entering a third day.

   The future of Prime Minister Mark Rutte's two-party coalition hangs in the 
balance Thursday amid behind-closed-doors discussions aimed at rescuing health 
care reforms intended to shave 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) off government 
spending. The package was rejected Tuesday thanks in part to the votes of three 
government senators.

   The Cabinet, made up of Rutte's pro-free market Liberal Party and the 
center-left Labor Party, is an uneasy alliance because of ideological 
differences, but both parties have slumped in the polls since taking office in 
2012 and wouldn't relish new elections early next year.

   Anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders' Freedom Party leads polls.


(KA)


 
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