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Geert Wilders’ leadership hopes sink as coalition talks collapse

by SuperiorInvest

Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) of the Netherlands.

Anadolu | fake images

LONDON – Far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders’ hopes of becoming prime minister of the Netherlands are waning after coalition talks collapsed on Tuesday.

Pieter Omtzigt, founder and leader of the upstart centre-right New Social Contract (NSC), walked out of the negotiations, irritating Wilders’ efforts to form a working alliance for his Party for Freedom (PVV) following his shock victory in the elections. November in Holland. general election.

Wilders took to social media Tuesday night to rebuke Omtzigt’s withdrawal, calling the decision “incredibly disappointing.”

“The Netherlands wants this cabinet and now Pieter Omtzigt is throwing in the towel while we were in talks until today. I don’t understand it at all,” Wilders wrote in a mail in X, according to a Google translation.

Dutch media reported that Omtzigt, whose party won 20 seats in November thanks to a campaign of “good governance” and “doing politics differently”, had been shocked by confidential Cabinet briefings on the state of public finances. .

In a letter sent to X, Omtzigt said it was clear that PVV and NSC have “different financial expectations” for the coming years.

“Under no circumstances does the NSC want to make promises to the Dutch, which it knows in advance are empty promises that cannot be fulfilled during the next ministerial period. Social security is not built with castles in the sky,” he said.

Wilders, who won a quarter of the vote in the election, has been negotiating with the NSC, outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD and the BBB farmers’ protest party since late November, without giving any sign of that an agreement will be reached. near.

BBB leader Caroline van der Plas described the collapse of the talks as a “total surprise” noting that they had been progressing constructively so far.

However, former Labor minister Ronald Plasterk, who has been leading the talks, has previously flagged finances as a major sticking point in the talks. This comes after the Dutch central bank said the incoming coalition would have to find around €17 billion ($18.3 billion) in structural spending cuts to keep public finances stable, Reuters reported.

Wilders, an anti-immigration Eurosceptic who has called for a “Nexit,” or the Netherlands’ exit from the European Union, has previously expressed resistance to big spending cuts, promising instead to lead a government with lower taxes.

His surprise November victory sent shockwaves across Europe, where far-right parties have been making gains ahead of European Parliament elections in June thanks to growing discontent over immigration, green policies and the cost of living crisis.

Still, disagreement with its biggest potential coalition partner could leave the PVV unable to form a majority in the Netherlands’ lower 150-seat legislative body.

If Wilders fails to form a government, Plasterk could decide to turn to the second candidate, the Labor-Green alliance led by former EU commissioner Frans Timmermans. Alternatively, if no combination of parties can agree to form a coalition, new elections could be called.

Omtzigt said in his letter that he would be willing to support a minority government, probably made up of the three parties now left at the table.

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