Monday, April 15, 2024

Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders abandons bid to become PM

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Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders has abandoned his bid to become prime minister despite his stunning win in the election last year.

“I can only become prime minister if all parties in the coalition support it. That was not the case,” Mr Wilders wrote on X.

“The love for my country and voters is bigger and more important than my own position,” he added.

In a separate post, he wrote that he would “still become prime minister of the Netherlands” one day. “With the support of even more Dutch people. If not tomorrow, then the day after. The voice of millions of Dutch people will be heard!”

Mr Wilders’s far-right Freedom Party (PVV) shocked everyone when it won the election in the Netherlands late last year. The populist party secured 37 seats, which was significantly higher than was forecast, but fell short of a majority in the 150-seat parliament.

Since then, it has engaged in preliminary coalition discussions with three possible right-wing partners.

Meanwhile, negotiations are still ongoing over the formation of a new government with three other parties. The lead negotiator, Kim Putters, who wrapped up the latest round of discussions on Tuesday, is scheduled to present his findings to parliament on Thursday.

“I would like a right-wing cabinet. Less asylum and immigration. Dutch on 1,” Mr Wilders wrote on X on Wednesday evening.

Mr Wilders has been engaged in months-long discussions with the centre-right VVD, New Social Contract (NSC), and BBB farmers’ parties in an effort to establish a coalition government.

This week, the leaders of the three parties involved stated their willingness to proceed only if all four party leaders agreed not to hold positions in the government, according to Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

“My expectation is that these parties will take the next step in the cabinet formation,” Mr Putters said on Tuesday.

According to Politico, this would mark the first instance since 1982 where the leader of the winning party in a Dutch general election did not assume the role of prime minister.

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