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Dutch coalition talks delayed as officials hesitant to caucus with right-wing firebrand Wilders


The official appointed to investigate possible coalitions after the Dutch election won by Geert Wilders’ far-right Party for Freedom said Friday he needs more time because of reluctance by potential partners to join Wilders in a government.

Ronald Plasterk, a former government minister from the center-left Labor Party, had been expected to present his report on possible formations early next week ahead of a Dec. 7 debate in the lower house of parliament.

But in a letter to the lower house president, Vera Bergkamp, he said he hopes to report back to her early in the following week.

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The delay comes after two key parties backed away from joining a coalition with Wilders. The new leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte has said she will not join a coalition led by Wilders, but would offer it support in parliament.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – NOVEMBER 22: Geert Wilders (C), a Dutch right-wing politician and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), casts his vote in the Dutch general election on November 22, 2023 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Pieter Omtzigt, the leader of another potential coalition partner, New Social Contract, told Plasterk he was not yet ready to discuss forming a coalition with Wilders.

Omtzigt has previously criticized Wilders’ repeated anti-Islam statements as unconstitutional. Wilders responded even before the election by saying that his long-held plan to “de-Islamize” the Netherlands are not currently a priority. He has urged Omtzigt, VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and the agrarian Farmer Citizen Movement to join him in coalition talks.

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According to official results confirmed Friday, Wilders’ Party for Freedom won 37 seats in the 150-seat lower house in the election for a clear-cut victory. An alliance of the center-left Labor Party and Green Left finished second with 25 seats followed by the VVD with 24 and New Social Contract with 20. The Farmer Citizen Movement won seven seats.



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