Possible prime minister says sorry to Omtzigt over car comment

Ronald Plasterk insisted he had "complete integrity". Photo: EU2016 NL

The man tipped to be Geert Wilders’ choice for prime minister has made a public apology to NSC leader Pieter Omtzigt via a letter in the Telegraaf newspaper.

Ronald Plasterk, a scientist and former Labour minister who kick-started the formation talks after the November election, said in the letter he was sorry for making comments about Omtzigt during the debate on his report with MPs.

In February, Omtzigt left the negotiations, claiming crucial financial documents had been withheld from the negotiators by Plasterk. A week later, Plasterk told MPs  that his official car had been used by Omtzigt to go to a hotel where he briefed several journalists on his reasons for calling a halt to the talks. 

Talking about Omtzigt to MPs was “unnecessary and misplaced,” Plaskerk now says in his letter. “I made a personal apology at the time to Pieter Omtzigt and I am now repeating that in public. Sorry, Pieter!” he wrote. 

Dutch media reported on Thursday that Omtzigt was holding up Plasterk’s nomination by Wilders for the prime ministerial role.

The public sneer, however, is not the only issue surrounding the former home affairs minister, who has written columns for the Telegraaf over the past few years. 

Earlier this month, the NRC published an article stating that the Amsterdam UMC teaching hospital had started an investigation into how Plasterk was able to have sole rights to a patented cancer therapy.

The paper said he had earned “millions” from the research, which was carried out after his time as minister. In 2022, he sold the company he had set up to exploit the patents to listed company CureVac for €32 million.

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