Dutch parties resume coalition talks after Wilders forgoes PM role

By Thomson Reuters Mar 14, 2024 | 11:13 AM

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The four Dutch political parties most likely to form a government will resume negotiations on a looser coalition after far-right leader Geert Wilders’, who won the election four months ago, acknowledged he lacked the support to take the top job.

Wilders’ nationalist PVV party was the clear winner of the Nov. 22 election, but he has since failed to construct a viable coalition as his past anti-Islam and anti-EU rhetoric continued to be a stumbling block for his potential partners.

On Wednesday, Wilders said he was ready to forgo the job of prime minister as he acknowledged he did not have the support of all parties in a potential coalition.

Talks between the PVV, the centre-right VVD and NSC and farmers protest party BBB will now focus on reaching a deal on a technocratic government with looser ties to the parties in parliament, the intermediary leading the negotiations said on Thursday.

This would involve a cabinet of political veterans and outside experts, who would have to seek majorities for their policy proposals.

The Netherlands is usually governed by majority coalitions that nail down their agreements in detailed government pacts.

But more than 100 days of talks have made clear that such a coalition cannot be cobbled together this time, as both VVD and NSC remained reluctant to fully cooperate with Wilders.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alex Richardson)