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Wednesday February 21, 2024

Dutch govt talks in chaos as Wilders-appointed ‘scout’ quits

By AFP
November 28, 2023

THE HAGUE: Already difficult talks to form a government coalition in the Netherlands after Geert Wilders´s shock election win were thrown into disarray on Monday as the man tasked with overseeing them resigned.

Leaders in Europe and around the world are closely watching to see if Wilders and his PVV Freedom Party can form a government with partners wary of his strident anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and anti-EU views.

All eyes are on Yesilgoz and Wilders. — AFP
All eyes are on Yesilgoz and Wilders. — AFP

But there was immediate chaos as the “scout” Wilders appointed to shuttle between party leaders to clinch a deal stepped down after media reports surfaced over alleged fraud at a past company.

The “unrest” surrounding the reports and the time required to respond properly “do not go well together with my work as the scout,” said Gom van Strien, a PVV senator. “I have therefore told Geert Wilders and the chairwoman of the parliament that I have resigned my position as scout with immediate effect,” said van Strien.

Van Strien was supposed to begin the formal task of forming a coalition later Monday, meeting the top party leaders, starting with Wilders himself. The meetings were later scrapped. The NRC daily had reported on Sunday that a former employer of van Strien, Utrecht Holdings, had filed a police report about fraud allegedly carried out by the senator and other colleagues.

Van Strien denounced the allegations as “unfounded” and said he had “complied with all laws and regulations”, vowing initially to soldier on, but the pressure apparently became too great.