Reuters International

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD liberal party arrives at parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Kooren

(reuters_tickers)

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Mark Rutte's liberal VVD party should pursue a coalition with the socially conservative but economically progressive ChristenUnie (CU) after talks with other parties collapsed, the official leading discussions said on Monday.

Edith Schippers told journalists in The Hague that the only remaining combination of parties with a majority in parliament was the VVD and CU, plus the Christian Democrats and centrist Democrats 66, which were also part of the earlier negotiations.

Discussions between Rutte's VVD and three smaller parties including the Greens collapsed last week because of disagreements about immigration, the major theme of March 15's election in the Netherlands.

The poll saw voters turn to a larger number of smaller parties, making it tougher to form a stable government.

A new round of talks with the CU could take several weeks and possibly months, with a successful outcome far from certain.

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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