Wilders Wants Freedom Party to Be Part of Dutch Coalition TalksBy
Discussions on new government have started with 13 parties
Premier Rutte repeats he doesn’t want to govern with Wilders
Geert Wilders said he still wants his anti-Islam Freedom Party to be part of talks on a new coalition government in the Netherlands, striking a defiant tone after his failure to make significant gains in last week’s elections as informal talks got under way.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose Liberals remain the largest group in parliament, repeated that he wants Wilders’s party, known as the PVV in Dutch, to be excluded the from coalition talks.
Wilders, whose Freedom Party gained five extra seats in the lower house in The Hague to become the second-largest, told Liberal Health Minister Edith Schippers, who’s leading the first informal talks, on Monday that barring the Freedom Party from the coalition talks would be undemocratic.
“The PVV deserves a place at the negotiation table,” Wilders said in a tweet to which he attached a note to Schippers, who’s been appointed by the speaker of the lower house as the so-called scout to take the first soundings on the next government.
The process of forming a new coalition after a Dutch election is highly choreographed. Amid increasing political fragmentation, at least four parties will be needed to get to a 76-seat majority in the lower chamber this time round. Schippers was meeting Monday with the leaders of all 13 parties that won seats.
Wilders said he wants Schippers to explore a coalition that consists of Rutte’s Liberals, the Freedom Party, the Christian Democrats, the 50Plus party that appeals to older voters, the reformed protestant SGP, which does well in the conservative Christian Bible Belt, and a smaller populist group, the Forum for Democracy.
Rutte has a different view -- he told reporters after his meeting with Schippers that he wants a stable majority cabinet that includes the Christian Democrats and the centrist, pro-European Union D66 party. The three have 71 seats between them.
The Liberals took 33 seats in the 150-member chamber, followed by Wilders’s party on 20 seats. The Christian Democrats and the D66 each won 19 seats.