AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The Netherlands' began consultations Monday to determine how to go forward following the collapse of the country's Cabinet, officials said.
The queen was expected to meet with her advisers, including outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Council of State Vice President Tjeenk Willink, parliamentary speakers Gerdi Verbeet and Rene van der Linden and outgoing Deputy Prime Ministers Wouter Bos and Andre Rouvoet.
The Cabinet collapsed over a split between coalition parties about extending the country's military presence in Afghanistan, Radio Netherlands reported.
If the queen accepts the Cabinet members' resignations, the most likely scenario would be for the remaining coalition parties -- the Christian Democrats and the Christian Union -- to serve as a caretaker government until a general election can be called, observers told the broadcaster.
The earliest an election could be conducted is May, officials said
The confrontation began after Bos, leader of the Labor Party, expressed unwillingness to extend the Dutch mission in Afghanistan as requested by NATO. The Cabinet decided last fall to extend the mission by two years, but Labor Party leaders recently said they could not compromise again on another extension.