CDA tax minister was also asked to be prime minister by Wilders

Tax minister Marnix van Rij. Photo: RVD – Valerie Kuypers and Martijn Beekman

Outgoing tax minister Marnix van Rij was asked by PVV leader Geert Wilders to be prime minister on his behalf, the former CDA party chairman told Trouw in an interview.

The far right party leader asked him after Ronald Plasterk withdrew following allegations about his business dealings, Van Rij said.

“It is not the sort of question you get asked every day, perhaps once in a lifetime,” he said. “But sometimes you get landed with a question that is slightly impossible.”

Van Rij said he had discussed the situation with CDA leaders, but that his family was the main reason he said no. “The negative reactions from my six children, who all vote in different ways, was a symbol of my own struggle,” he said.

In addition, he said that he is too deeply rooted in the CDA, where he has been a member for 40 years. “Should I then be chairman of a cabinet on behalf of four parties which do not include the CDA?’ he said.

Shortly afterward, top civil servant Dick Schoof was approached and said yes.

Van Rij also said he felt the leader of the biggest party should have been prime minister “even if that meant Geert Wilders as prime minister”.

“That gives the cabinet its demographic legitimacy,” he said.

Van Rij will hand over the reins as tax minister next Tuesday. From November he will join the International Monetary Fund in Washington.

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