Wilders gives up prime minister hopes under deal to end deadlock

Geert Wilders on the campaign trail. Photo: Jan Kranendonk/Depositphotos

The leader of the largest party in the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders, has confirmed he will not be prime minister in a right-wing government.

Wilders posted on social media site X that he could not count on the support of all four parties that have been in talks for the last three months to form a cabinet.

The announcement came the day before Kim Putters, who has been leading talks between the four parties – Wilders’s PVV, the liberal VVD, the centre-right NSC and the farmers’ party BBB – is due to report his findings to parliament.

Putters is expected to say that the parties are ready to form a so-called “extra-parliamentary” cabinet, with some ministers drawn from outside the political parties.

As part of the deal, all four party leaders – Wilders, Dilan Yesilgöz of the VVD, Pieter Omtzigt of NSC and Caroline van der Plas of the BBB – are understood to have agreed to keep their seats in parliament rather than take ministerial posts.

The development gives Wilders the initiative in nominating the new prime minister, the first since Mark Rutte took over from Jan-Peter Balkenende in 2010.

Wilders is expected to look beyond his own group of MPs, none of whom has ministerial experience. Of the other three parties only the VVD has experience of being in government.

Omtzigt walked out of the previous round of negotiations four weeks ago after concluding that the differences between his party and the PVV on constitutional rights were irreconcilable.

Now that Wilders has given up his hopes of becoming prime minister Omtzigt is expected to return to the negotiating table.

Yesilgöz also said after the election that the VVD would not appoint ministers to a cabinet led by Wilders, but has since said her party will take part in an extra-parliamentary government as long as NSC does the same.

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