Wilders hit with setback in Dutch coalition talks as ally resigns

Nov 28, 2023

Wilders hit with setback in Dutch coalition talks as ally resigns

Amsterdam [Netherlands], November 28: Talks to form a government in the Netherlands got off to a chaotic start on Monday when an ally of far-right firebrand Geert Wilders quit his job as negotiator.
Gom van Strien had been appointed a key role in Wilders' effort to build a coalition following last week's elections that saw their Party for Freedom (PVV) win the most seats in parliament.
Van Strien was to set to begin holding talks with parliamentary group leaders on Monday. It unclear how the process will now unfold with his resignation.
His departure came after it emerged at the weekend that van Strien faces charges linked to alleged fraud at a former employer. He denied any wrongdoing.
Wilders' win marked a major upset in Dutch politics and was greeted by eurosceptics across the European Union. The PVV is anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-EU.
But forming a right-wing government is expected to prove tricky.
Wilders will need at least two parties to form a coalition after taking 37 seats in the 150-member lower house. He needs 76 at a minimum.
One pathway forward is to form a coalition with the centrist New Social Contract party and the conservative VVD party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has been in the job for 13 years.
But the VVD has publicly rejected participating in a Wilders-led government.
In the Netherlands, the first step after an election is traditionally to appoint a person who serves as a sounding board to figure out the chances of a coalition.
This person talks to all parliamentary groups. Only then do the parties begin substantive negotiations.
Source: Qatar Tribune