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Far-right firebrand Geert Wilders to forgo Dutch PM job

March 13, 2024

Months after surprisingly coming out on top in the Netherlands' election, far-right leader Geert Wilders has said he does not have the political support to become the next prime minister.

Dutch far-right politician and leader of the PVV party, Geert Wilders
Wilders has been in preliminary talks with potential allies since the November 22 electionImage: Carl Court/Getty Images

Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders said Wednesday he would not seek the role of the Netherlands' next prime minister.

Wilders' Party for Freedom won the most votes in national elections last year, but he failed to persuade potential coalition support to get the top job. 

"I can only become Prime Minister if all parties in the coalition support it. That was not the case," Wilders wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Right-wing coalition on the cards

Wilders, known for his radical anti-immigration, Islamophobic politics and staunch Euroskepticism, was in talks with the center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, populist Farmer Citizen Movement, and centrist New Social Contract to attempt to form a right-wing coalition.

"I really wanted a right-wing Cabinet. Less asylum and immigration. Dutch people number 1," Wilders wrote on X. "The love for my country and voters is bigger and more important than my own position."

Dutch national broadcaster NOS had earlier reported they were considering a scenario in which the party leaders would remain in parliament and not join the new government.

"My expectation is that these parties will take the next step in the Cabinet formation," the man overseeing the negotiations, Kim Putters, said on Tuesday. He was due to report to Dutch lawmakers on Thursday.

That sets up the likelihood of a technical Cabinet where politicians and experts not considered closely allied to any of the parties would be appointed to top government posts and work closely with parliament.

Although Wilders will not lead the government, he and his Party for Freedom will remain a significant force behind the administration.

Far-right populist Geert Wilders wins big in Dutch elections

lo/wmr (AP, AFP, Reuters)