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Populist Geert Wilders abandons PM claim

  • March 15, 2024
  • 2 min read
Populist Geert Wilders abandons PM claim

Right-wing populist Geert Wilders has abandoned his claim to become the next prime minster of the Netherlands, weeks after troubled coalition talks between Wilders’ Freedom Party and three others, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy of outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte, the centre-right New Social Contract, and the BBB populist farmers’ party.

Dutch public broadcaster NOS reports that the leaders of the other parties demanded he abandon his post as a condition to continue talks. “I can only become prime minister if ALL parties in the coalition support it. That was not the case,” Wilders wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

This would be the first time since 1982 that the leader of the winning party in the country’s general election did not become the country’s prime minster. This decision, he said, came as part of his wish to enable the formation of a right-wing cabinet.  

“Less asylum and immigration,” he wrote on X. “Dutch on 1. The love for my country and voter is great and more important than my own position.”

Leaders of the other parties in the coalition talks had already recused themselves from the post, though they have yet to react to Wilders’ statement. Wilders had spent months in talks with the other parties in an attempt to form a coalition government.

But the leaders of the parties insisted that the only way they would be prepared to move forward was if the leaders of all four parties agreed not to take a role in the government, NOS reported. It was not immediately clear whether a compromise figure for the position had been chosen.

Following 14 years with Mark Rutte as prime minster, the next Dutch government could end up with more of a figurehead in the post as ministers could be drawn from outside politics ass well as within. The last time a prime minster did not come from the largest party in government was in the 1980s and the last time a prime minster was not the leader of one of the governing parties was in 1918.

The PVV’s win last year shook Dutch politics and could have consequences throughout Europe, the Netherlands being one of the founding members of what became the European Union.

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