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Dutchman Geert Wilders ready to form coalition government

Geert Wilders is on the verge of forming a coalition government in the Netherlands six months after a landslide victory in national elections, Irish Examiner reports.

It raises the prospect of another EU country tilting towards the far-right weeks before EU-wide elections.

Mr. Wilders has said he has no intention of becoming prime minister. He also added he remains too extreme for his coalition partners. But his Freedom Party will be the driving force in a four-party coalition government.

Far-right and populist parties are now part of or head half a dozen governments in the 27-nation bloc. They appear to have a good chance of succeeding in the EU elections on 6-9 June. Mr. Wilders told the broadcaster NOS early on Wednesday after the four parties reached a deal on government financing, the last major stumbling bloc in the talks:

“We hope we will get there. I think we will get there. Cannot see it going wrong.” 

However, who will take the prime minister’s chair is not yet clear. Pieter Omtzigt, leader of the centrist New Social Contract party, said:

“That is still crucial. If you want a government to succeed, you need a prime minister that unites.”

The centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, owned by outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the populist Farmer Civic Movement are also in coalition talks.

Earlier, Wilders’ Freedom Party won 37 seats in the 150-seat lower house of the Dutch parliament. The four parties combined have a comfortable majority of 88 seats.

After two decades in opposition, Mr Wilders seemed to have a chance to lead a country that has long prided itself on its tolerant society. However, he has stepped aside in the interests of implementing most of his programmes.

From Finland to Croatia, far-right parties are part of Europe’s governing coalitions, and far-right prime ministers lead Hungary, Slovakia and Italy.


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