Dutch populist Geert Wilders led his party to a historic victory in Wednesday’s parliamentary elections, but after a few days it is confirmed that his dream of becoming prime minister will not come true that easily.
The formation of a center-right coalition headed by Wilders and a majority of votes in the parliament appears to be the most logical. But this option was undermined by the Friday statement of the head of the liberal-conservative VVD party, Dilan Yesilgözová, who said that her party with Wilders would not enter the government. It is the VVD that is close to Wilders in the opinion that the Netherlands must tighten its migration policy.
The fair-haired head of the victorious Party for Freedom (PVV), who became famous for his harsh statements against Islam or his demand for a referendum on the Netherlands’ withdrawal from the EU, reacted confidently to the rejection. He said that his political opponents were once again opening a “bag of tricks” against him, but that after years of pushing him away, they could no longer ignore him.
“Today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, the PVV will be able to participate in governance and I will become the prime minister of this beautiful country,” Wilders wrote in a rather long contribution on the social platform X (formerly Twitter).
So far, other potential coalition partners of the populists are also reticent. The head of the centrist NSC, Pieter Omtzigt, said cooperation would be difficult because of Wilders’ anti-Islam stances, which he said could conflict with constitutional protections for religious freedoms.
On the other hand, forming government coalitions has traditionally been a complex and lengthy process in the Netherlands. Mediators and coordinators are involved in the negotiations, and as a result the original positions may change.
Wilders’ success surprised
The victory of Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) stunned many European politicians. They fear how the Netherlands with such a prime minister would affect the functioning of the EU.
For example, VVD leader Yesilgöz, who took over the leadership of the center-right party from longtime Prime Minister Mark Rutte, did not rule out that her party could tolerate Wilders’ minority government.
According to the newspaper De Telegraaf, in addition, some members of the VVD, which finished third in the elections and lost a considerable number of parliamentary seats, do not agree with the strong position of their leader and consider it hasty. Caroline van der Plasová, head of the BBB farm party, also called for negotiations. “I find it strange. The Netherlands wants us to sit together. The losing party can also be part of it,” said the politician.
In its analysis, the public broadcaster NOS draws attention to the fact that in the past, after the elections, often strong positions changed and eventually coalitions were formed, which at the beginning looked unlikely. For example, as in 2002, where the VVD was also reluctant to join a coalition after a significant loss of mandates, but in the end participated in the government with two stronger parties.
If the talks about a coalition headed by Wilders ultimately fail, there remains the theoretical possibility that the government would be formed by other parties, including the participation of a combined formation of the Greens and Socialists led by the former vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. However, there are fears that in such a case Wilders’ support would increase even more. Another option would be to call early elections.