10 Jun 2010

Geert Wilders on course for Dutch cabinet seat

The Netherlands' Muslim-baiting maverick Geert Wilders has staked a strong claim to a seat in a new Dutch cabinet after almost tripling his party's parliamentary presence in an election breakthrough.


Wilders, the leader of the Freedom party, increased its seats from nine to 24 in the 150-seat second chamber in The Hague, seven fewer than the winning rightwing liberals of the VVD and six seats behind the Dutch Labour party.

"We want to be part of the new government. Nobody can bypass the PVV [Freedom party] any more," declared the tall populist with the shock of white hair, after pushing the Netherlands' traditionally ruling Christian democrats into a humiliating fourth place in the general election.

Wilders appeared serious about insisting on a government role, promptly dropping campaign insistence on keeping the retirement age at 65 in an attempt to narrow differences with the liberals, who have pledged to raise it to 67 as well as big spending and welfare cuts.

The Guardian