Omtzigt may be prime minister in a cabinet of experts

Photo: Dutch News

Pieter Omtzigt, leader of new party Nieuw Sociaal Contract, said on Sunday he may be prepared to be prime minister if the next cabinet is made up of experts in their field.

Omtzigt told current affairs show Buitenhof on Sunday that his preference is still to lead the NSC in parliament. However, if there is to be a cabinet of experts, then “I would be open” to becoming prime minister, he said.

The Netherlands, he said, needs experts in certain fields, rather than politicians, to take on the role of cabinet ministers. The current cabinet has two – former Erasmus teaching hospital boss Ernst Kuipers, who is health minister, and academic Robbert Dijkgraaf who heads the education ministry.

Opinion polls show Omtzigt is the most popular choice for PM, but he has consistently refused to say if he will take the job, should the NSC become the largest party.

Meanwhile, VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz has said the divisions between her party and the far right PVV run by Geert Wilders are still “enormous”. “I don’t see how that can happen at the moment,” she said.

Yesilgöz was reacting to a poll by Maurice de Hond which put both the VVD and PVV on 26 seats, with the NSC and GroenLinks/PvdA alliance on 23.

Yesilgöz acknowledged Wilders now says put tackling poverty and migration in general have a higher priority than his wish to ‘de-Islamise” the Netherlands.

“But I don’t know how credible that is,” she said. Wilders’ views on “Russia, Islam and a Nexit” could be back on the negotiating table and “these are things which could wreck the country”, she said.

De Hond uses a different technique to other polling companies and has over-estimated support for the PVV before. No other poll gives the party such a high share of the vote.

The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new lower house of parliament on Wednesday, November 22.

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