Opposition leader Geert Wilders has said the three largest parties that emerge from this week’s election should be first in line to discuss the next coalition.
Wilders, whose anti-immigration PVV party is running second in the polls, said it was ‘undemocratic’ of caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte to rule him out as a potential partner before the election has been held.
‘Voters are in charge, not Mark Rutte,’ Wilders told NPO Radio 1. He said Rutte was a ‘full-blooded power broker’ who would cut whatever deal he needed to stay in office. ‘Today it’s with the PVV, tomorrow with Labour (PvdA), the next day with D66.’
All polls give Rutte’s right-wing liberal VVD group a clear lead with at least 30 projected seats in the lower house. The PVV is on course to retain the 20 seats it won last time or slightly fewer, while third place is most likely to go to the CDA.
The three parties were involved in Rutte’s first government in 2010, with VVD and CDA forming a minority centre-right coalition supported by the PVV in a confidence and supply deal. The cabinet collapsed after 18 months when Wilders refused to sign off an austerity package.
Fourth-placed D66 is closing the gap on the CDA as voters have responded positively to leader Sigrid Kaag’s campaign, and is projected to win between 14 and 16 seats. CDA and D66 were both partners in Rutte’s last coalition, along with the ChristenUnie (CU).
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