Explainer-How will Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders form a government?

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 6:21 AM

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands was set to have its most right-wing government in recent history after anti-immigration populist Geert Wilders said he was close to working out a deal with coalition partners.


Wilders’ nationalist PVV party, the clear winner of the Nov. 22 election, will form a coalition with outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right VVD, the new centrist NSC and the farmers protest upstart BBB.

The Netherlands is usually governed by coalitions that nail down their plans in detailed government pacts, but this time parties said they would aim for a broad agreement and a government of technocrats with looser ties to parliament.

This would involve a cabinet of political veterans and outside experts, who would have to seek majorities for their policy proposals. Those positions need to be agreed upon by all parties, which could prove difficult.


Talks have been strained from the start as the VVD and NSC remained reluctant to work with Wilders, who called for shutting down mosques and banning the Koran in the Netherlands.

In an effort to overcome this reluctance, Wilders toned down parts of his anti-EU and anti-Islam rhetoric and said he was ready to forego the role of prime minister, traditionally filled by the leader of the largest party.

Wilders could announce his candidate for the top job on Wednesday.

Even without a direct government position, however, the always outspoken leader is still set to have a large influence over policies.

Wilders regularly uses his X account with 1.4 million followers to lash out against political opponents, migrants and mainstream media and has said he won’t change his style once in government.


Not many details of the government pact have leaked, but it is clear the coalition will aim to severely limit immigration.

A draft page of the pact photographed and published by Dutch media last week showed the parties aimed for the “strictest-ever rules for admitting asylum seekers”.

Wilders also made promises of lavish spending on healthcare and a lowering of the retirement age, but budget constraints make it unlikely the other parties will all support these plans.

Economic experts, including the Dutch central bank, have warned the new coalition would have to find around 17 billion euros ($18.4 billion) in structural spending cuts to keep government finances in check.

Wilders has dropped his resistance to all weapon deliveries to Ukraine, and is also no longer calling for a Dutch exit from the EU.


The four prospective government parties planned to finalise their deal on Wednesday, after which they will report to parliament.

The candidate prime minister will then likely be tasked with filling the rest of the government positions, with candidates supplied by the four parties, in a process which is likely to take weeks, NSC-leader Pieter Omtzigt said.

($1 = 0.9235 euros)

(Reporting by Bart Meijer and Anthony Deutsch: Editing by Nick Macfie)