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Outgoing Dutch PM’s party refuses far-right coalition

Talks to form a new Dutch coalition government led by Geert Wilders are expected to proceed well into next year

The political party of the outgoing Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has ruled out a role in the Netherlands’ next cabinet after anti-immigration candidate Geert Wilders’ shock election victory, its leader has said.

In what is a blow to Wilders’ hopes of forming a coalition government, Dilan Yesilgoz, leader of the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), said on Friday that it would not be entering into formal talks with Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV). However, Yesilgoz indicated that her party may support Wilders in some specific policy votes in parliament.

Coalition talks involving Wilders’ PVV and other members of what is a fractured Dutch political landscape are ongoing after the results of Wednesday’s general election reflected a seismic shift in the country’s political narrative. Wilders, whose party won 37 out of 150 seats, cannot form a government alone and will require potential coalition partners to join forces if he is to succeed Rutte as prime minister.

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FILE PHOTO: Geert Wilders speaks to journalists outside the Dutch National Bank in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 12, 2014
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Any successful talks, though, would require sign-off on some of his more controversial policy pledges. Wilders has previously declared he would not support “Islamic schools, Qurans and mosques.” One possible coalition partner, the VVD party’s Yesilgoz noted, is the center-right New Social Contract (NSC) party.

“The big winners are the PVV and NSC,” she said, according to the Dutch broadcaster NOS on Friday. “But we will make a center-right cabinet possible. We will support constructive proposals, so it is a form of tolerance.” 

Responding to Yesilgoz on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday, Wilders said that it was a “pity” that she and her party were uninterested in a political alliance. “I hope they change their minds because governing is better than tolerating.” 

Of the other possible coalition partners for a Wilders-led government, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) said that it would be willing to join PVV in government. The agricultural party, formed in 2019 following widespread farmers’ protests in the Netherlands, holds a large number of seats in the senate that can be used to block legislation from being passed.

Coalition talks are expected to take months to progress to a conclusion. The last Dutch government took 299 days to form.

November 25, 2023 at 01:12AM

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