Dutch nationalist Wilders says deal on right-wing government is very close

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 12:00 AM

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders said on Wednesday he was very close to an agreement with his prospective right-wing government partners, almost six months after his election victory.

With parties divided over migration policies and government finances, tense talks on forming the most right-wing government in recent Dutch history have dragged on for months since Wilders’ upset election victory on Nov. 22.

“I can’t see this fail,” Wilders told reporters shortly after midnight, following 16 hours of talks during which parties said they had found agreement on government finances.

Wilders said negotiators would meet again at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) to try and finalise the deal, and allow factions to respond to it before a deadline for talks expires at midnight.

A deal would see the anti-Muslim populist PVV led by Wilders team with outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center right VVD, centrist NSC and the farmers’ protest party BBB, in a coalition with a majority of 88 seats in the 150-seat Lower House.

No details of their government pact have been announced, but Wilders has repeatedly said he would only join a government that would significantly limit asylum migration.

After Tuesday’s marathon session, other party leaders also said a deal was close, although NSC’s Pieter Omtzigt said it was still unclear who would become Prime Minister.

Wilders is expected to reveal his candidate for the top job on Wednesday, after vowing to forego the role in March. The other three party leaders will also remain in parliament.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)