By Chris King •
Updated: 29 Nov 2023 • 23:29
Image of Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
Credit: Wouter Engler/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
UPDATE: Wednesday, November 29 at 10:57 pm
Geert Wilders suffered a major setback in his hope of forming a governing coalition when a potential key partner ruled itself out this Wednesday, November 29.
The former Christian Democrat MP, Pieter Omtzigt, won 20 seats in last week’s election with new party Nieuw Sociaal Contract. His support was considered to be crucial in helping the new PVV leader to form a coalition government.
Ronald Plasterk, the former Labour party minister, replaced Gom van Strien as the man tasked with identifying potential coalition partners. For a working majority, Wilders needs the backing of 76 MPs in the 150-seat parliament.
Omtzigt however reportedly informed Plasterk today that he was not ready to discuss forming either a majority or a minority cabinet, according to dutchnews.nl.
‘All in all, the NSC faction does not now see any basis to start talks with the PVV about a majority or a minority government’, he said in a letter to the ‘scout’.
He added that he believed the PVV manifesto: ‘contains views which in our judgement go against the constitution… here we draw a hard line’, reported france24.com.
Monday, November 27 at 7:09 pm
AFTER being appointed as a ‘scout’ last week to identify potential coalitions with Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom, Gom van Strien resigned this Monday, November 27.
He had been scheduled to meet with Wilders and other party leaders today but his resignation led to the cancellation of their meetings, reported nu.nl.
The politician was the subject of fraud allegations involving Utrecht Holding, a subsidiary of the University of Utrecht and the UMC Utrecht according to NRC.
They reported last Saturday 25 that a complaint was filed in March 2023 against Van Strien, his successor, and a third employee, suggesting bribery and ‘irregularities’. NRC claimed to have seen documents from Utrecht Holding that showed Van Strien was the former employee involved.
He was general manager of the company between 2000 and 2009, with the fraud said to have been committed between 2006 and 2018, nu.nl. reported.
Despite denying the accusations, Van Strien issued a statement this morning in which the PVV senator explained that his task of making an inventory of possible coalitions was being hampered by: ‘both the unrest that has arisen about this and the preparation of a response to it’.
Vera Bergkamp, president of the lower house of the Dutch parliament, said in a statement: ”It is annoying to start the exploration phase like this’. She added that: ‘It is now important that a new scout is quickly appointed who can start work immediately’.
Citing the ANP news agency, it was reported by dutchnews.nl this evening that Ronald Plasterk, the former Labour party minister was being lined up to replace Van Strien.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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