Netherlands: Parties agree on coalition with populist Wilders

Formation of government in The Hague
Shift to the right in the Netherlands: parties agree on a coalition with populist Wilders

The new man at the helm of the Netherlands: right-wing populist Geert Wilders

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After months of laborious negotiations, four right-wing parties have agreed on how the Netherlands should be governed in the future. It’s supposed to be just a loose alliance. And: election winner Wilders will not become head of government.

The Netherlands gets a right-wing government coalition. Almost six months after the parliamentary elections, the radical right-wing populist Geert Wilders and three other parties have agreed on a coalition agreement. “We have an agreement,” Wilders said on Wednesday in The Hague. But it is still unclear who should become the new Prime Minister – Wilders had already abdicated. The parties still have to agree on a head of government, said Wilders.

The contents of the agreement were not made public until the afternoon. First, the parliamentary groups that also have to agree should be informed. There was a deadline of midnight by which the leaders of the discussions had to submit their report to Parliament.

Former Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party co-governs

The future government parties include Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), the right-wing liberal VVD of the previous Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the new right-wing conservative NSC and the right-wing populist farmers’ party BBB.

A loose alliance is planned with a ministerial team, around half of which consists of non-party experts. Former Social Democratic minister Ronald Plasterk was discussed as a possible candidate for prime minister. But the faction leaders initially did not want to confirm this.

In the election on November 22nd, Wilders and his anti-Islam party won 37 of the 150 seats in parliament. But he needs at least two other parties for a majority.

In order to clear the way for a radical right-wing government, the 60-year-old put controversial demands such as a ban on mosques on hold and agreed to give up the office of head of government. The parliamentary group leaders of the other three parties also remain in parliament.

The Netherlands could be without a new government for weeks

After months of laborious talks, the party leaders also reached an agreement on Wednesday night about the biggest point of contention to date, finances. But on Wednesday the agreement was delayed by several hours. It will take an estimated six weeks for the government to actually come together.

The previous Prime Minister Rutte has been head of government for more than 13 years. In the summer of 2023, his center-right coalition collapsed in the dispute over asylum policy. Rutte then announced his departure from politics; he is now the most promising candidate for the office of NATO Secretary General.

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