Wilders’ extreme right calls off deal to rule Netherlands

Geert Wilders’ far-right party on Monday completed the formation of a government in the Netherlands in a coalition with three other right-wing parties, with Dick Schoof, a security and asylum official, as prime minister, leading a team of ministers with political experience.

According to the report presented to Parliament this Monday, the future government will have 15 ministers and, despite initial promises that half would be technocrats, ultimately all cabinet members come from politics: five from the radical right of the PVV, four from the liberal VVD, four from the Christian democrat NSC and two from the BBB Farmers Party.

The new Dutch cabinet, which will not include Wilders or any of the leaders of the other three parties, will spend the next two months detailing a government program after taking office this Tuesday, ending the nearly 14-year legislature of liberal Mark Rutte, who retired from politics in October to take up the post of NATO secretary general.

The report presented by the mediator, Richard van Zwol, states that the program of the future government “will be presented to the Estates General in time for budget day,” on Tuesday, September 17, and will also be “dedicated to the legislative quality and feasibility of the political and legislative proposals” that have been included in general terms in the preliminary agreement.

The document, which does not give much detail on how the government agreement will be implemented, emphasizes that the planned cuts to government employees will be carried out in a “responsible and achievable manner” and that “particular attention will be paid to the importance of adequate supervision (inspection) and an adequate network of missions abroad.”

The four parties have included a 22% cut in public services in their agreement, which has worried several ministries, such as the Foreign Ministry, which fears the closure of embassies.

Early in the morning, the new team of ministers led by Schoof and Van Zwol met formally for the first time, called a “constitutional meeting”.

Far-right deputy Fleur Egema (PVV) emphasized that she is “very proud” to be the future deputy prime minister and minister of public health of the “most right-wing” cabinet in Dutch history, although “with a warm social heart,” she noted. “I will take care of it,” she promised.

Her colleague from the PVV, Marjolein Faber, who will be in charge of the new Migration and Asylum Ministry, spoke of “a historic day” for the Netherlands and stressed that she wanted to “not look back, only forward”. She was asked about her defence of “ethnic replacement”, the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which holds that immigrants are “re-populating” the West.

Faber and the far-right deputy Renate Klaver, who will be Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, have both been heavily criticized in the past for having used racist statements and vocabulary known from National Socialism. “I am not going to say anything more about it,” Klaver concluded this Monday.

In parliamentary hearings in recent weeks, Faber distanced himself from the term “ethnic replacement” and Claver described it as “a factual description of demographic development.”

Van Zwolle will meet King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands this Monday and introduce him to the Schoof ahead of its inauguration this Tuesday.


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