Geert Wilders says he doesn't have political support to become Dutch prime minister

Credit: AP

Geert Wilders, whose anti-Islam, anti-immigration rhetoric swept him to a stunning victory in the Dutch general election in November, said on Wednesday he doesn’t have the support of his prospective coalition partners to become the next prime minister.

Mr Wilders, who has been an incredibly controversial figure in Dutch politics for decades, took to X, formerly Twitter, to say that “I can only become premier if ALL parties in the coalition support that. That wasn’t the case.”

His comment came after media reports suggested there had been a breakthrough in coalition talks between all four parties, who have been involved in drawn-out coalition negotiations.

That sets up the likelihood of some sort of technical cabinet made up of experts. An while Mr Wilders may not lead that government, he and his Party for Freedom will remain a loud voice on the sidelines. Mr Wilders, sometimes referred to as the "Dutch Donald Trump", later added another comment on X to say that, one day, he still wants to be prime minister.

“Don't forget: I will still become premier of the Netherlands,” he said. “With the support of even more Dutch people. If not tomorrow, then the day after tomorrow. Because the voice of millions of Dutch people will be heard!” Following the November election, Mr Wilders' party holds 37 seats in the 150-seat lower house of the Dutch parliament. The four parties in government talks hold a combined 88 seats, giving them a comfortable majority. Polls since the election show that support for Mr Wilders' party continues to grow. After two decades of trenchant opposition, Mr Wilders seemed to have a shot at leading a nation that long prided itself on its tolerant society. “I really wanted a right-wing Cabinet. Less asylum and immigration. Dutch people number 1,” Mr Wilders said on X. “The love for my country and voter is bigger and more important than my own position.” The rise of the populist far right in a polarised political landscape has been underway for years in Europe but Mr Wilders' election victory still came as a shock to the Netherlands and well beyond. Mr Wilders has often called for a ban on mosques, Islamic schools and the Quran, but in a concession to his prospective coalition partners in January, he withdrew draft legislation to implement the bans. The Netherlands is not alone in seeing a shift to the right. Far-right parties are expected to make significant gains in June elections for the European Union's parliament and Portugal's inconclusive result in Sunday's election thrust the populist Chega — or Enough — party into a possible kingmaker's role. Chega's leader, Andre Ventura, has made common cause with other right-wing parties across the continent.

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