Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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HomeWorldNew Dutch parliament sworn in following right-wing firebrand Wilders' stunning electoral win

New Dutch parliament sworn in following right-wing firebrand Wilders’ stunning electoral win

A new lower house of the Dutch parliament was sworn in Wednesday, two weeks after the far-right party of lawmaker Geert Wilders won a general election in a seismic shift that reverberated through Europe.

While the newly configured Second Chamber is now installed, talks to form a new ruling coalition remain at an early stage, with a “scout” still talking to leaders about possible combinations to succeed the last four-party administration led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The scout is expected to send a report to parliament before a debate, likely next week, on the next step in the coalition formation process.

HARD-RIGHT FIREBRAND GEERT WILDERS WINS ELECTION IN NETHERLANDS: ‘DUTCH DONALD TRUMP’

Rutte, the Netherlands’ longest serving premier, will remain in office until a new coalition is formed and sworn in. Talks to form Rutte’s final coalition took some nine months, a record.

Wilders’ anti-Islam, anti-immigration Party for Freedom won 37 seats in the 150-seat Second Chamber of Parliament in the Nov. 22 election, putting him in pole position to succeed Rutte. But at least two potential coalition partners are balking at some of his policy pledges that they consider unconstitutional.

The New Social Contract of former Christian Democrat lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt has 20 seats in the new parliament, but is so far reluctant to commit to joining Wilders in a coalition.

Among Wilders’ campaign pledges is for “No Islamic schools, Qurans and mosques” in the country, though his manifesto doesn’t outline how he would achieve that goal. The Dutch Constitution guarantees rights, including freedom of religion.

Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the new leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy long led by Rutte, has said she doesn’t want her party to join a coalition with Wilders, but has pledged to support a center-right coalition in parliament.

The new parliament is made up of 15 different parties and includes 67 lawmakers with no experience in the national legislature.

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