Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that his VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) party will not form a coalition government with the Party for Freedom (PVV) after the March 17 elections.
As reported by the local NL Times online, every political party in the Netherlands has objected to cooperating with Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam, far-right PVV party.
Rutte said the “probability is not 0.1, but zero that the VVD will govern with the PVV”.
“It’s not going to happen,” he added, listing three reasons for his rejection of the PVV party. First is the failed collaboration between the two parties in his first cabinet in 2010. Second is the PVV’s socioeconomic agenda. The third is the fundamental objections to Wilders’ statements, particularly against immigrants.
In response, Wilders accused the Prime Minister of being swept by “the arrogance of power” and turning his back on “perhaps millions of voters”.
“The voter can show on March 15 what he thinks of this policy of exclusion and condemnation,” Wilders said.
Rutte said: “It is decent people who vote for the PVV. With those voters I want to have a conversation. I want to show that Wilders is not the leader who will solve the problems.”
In a separate report, Newsweek online noted that Wilders, whose party is allied in the European Parliament with Marine le Pen’s National Front, sits some way to the right of moderate Rutte. Last year, a Dutch court found Wilders guilty of hate speech over disparaging comments he made about the Netherlands’ Moroccan population.