Faber will be asylum minister, parties agree after crisis talks

Richard van Zwol talks to the parliamentary press after the meeting. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

A far-right MP who has been nominated for the role of minister of asylum and migration in the new Dutch cabinet will remain on the list of potential members despite questions about her suitability, chief cabinet negotiator Richard van Zwol told reporters on Friday evening.

PVV parliamentarian Marjolein Faber was Geert Wilders’ second choice for the job after his first nominee, Israeli-born Gidi Markusower, failed to get through the security service screening.

On Friday morning, VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz said that she had doubts about  Faber’s nomination, given her previous public comments and her “tone and attitude”.

That statement led to crisis talks between the four party leader, Van Zwol and the next prime minister Dick Schoof late on Friday afternoon.

Faber is known as a hardliner on asylum, refused to concede she was wrong about the ethnicity of a stabbing suspect, and has called her colleagues in provincial government “fake”.

Faber said in a social media post that she “understood” the commotion about some of her previous comments, and emphasised that as minister she would abide by the coalition agreement and respect the rule of law.

After the meeting, Van Zwol told reporters political parties “always” have comments about other nominees and said the four party leaders had taken the time to go through the case thoroughly.

Faber had been properly vetted and there were no obstacles to her candidacy, Van Zwol said.

NOS reporter Albert Bos said that the VVD had not dared press on with its protest but had delivered a warning shot to both Wilders and Faber. The whole affair is a “sign of how the parties relate to each other and the underlying confidence,” he said. “And the real job has yet to begin.”


Opposition MPs have also been questioning the VVD and NSC’s acceptance of Markuszower and Reinette Klever, put forward by the PVV as aid minister when she called for the department to be closed down. Klever is also a founder of far-right broadcaster ON which has been fined for spreading fake news.

Frans Timmermans, leader of the GroenLinks-PvdA alliance, said on social media that Wilders had made “blunder after blunder”.

“And time and time again, the silence from the VVD and NSC is deafening,” he said. “Embarrassed, or is this the new governance culture?”

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