Omtzigt won’t enter Cabinet talks with Geert Wilders “at this time” in new blow to PVV

November 29, 2023  –THE HAGUE – Pieter Omtzigt said on Wednesday that he was not ready to negotiate with the PVV “at this time,” Nu.nl reported. The leader of the New Social Contract (NSC) said that after his meeting with formation scout Ronald Plasterk. Issues such as the rule of law, support for Ukraine, and ‘Nexit’ are among the concerns Omtzigt finds problematic in any potential collaboration with PVV leader Geert Wilders. 

“I do not want to start negotiations at this time. There are still obstacles related to the rule of law” Omtzigt told reporters after meeting with Cabinet formation scout Ronald Plasterk. “The coalition that Wilders wants does not have a majority in the Senate. Not by a long shot.” 

Instead of continuing negotiations, Omtzigt recommended stepping on the brakes, and appointing someone other than Plasterk to begin a more informal process of “exploring along the lines of content, what solutions the parties have for social problems.” Omtzigt wants a more open discussion where all political parties give their thoughts about the future of the Netherlands. 

Omtzigt published the letter he gave to Plasterk on X to further explain his point. According to him, the election program of the PVV contains positions that are contrary to the Constitution. “Members of Parliament and ministers swear allegiance to the Constitution upon taking office and promise to safeguard the fundamental rights of all residents and the democratic rule of law. In recent months, we have consistently stated that we will not compromise on these principles. This is where we draw a firm line,” he further wrote. 

“We note that Mr. Wilders has said he wants to put the respective positions of his party ‘on ice,” Omtzigt continued. “However, the implications of this are not clear. What is now the status of the PVV’s election program? How certain can we be that members of Parliament and potential ministers will adhere to the (Constitutional) law in their statements and votes, especially considering the statement that these positions are ‘in the DNA’ of the party?” 

Omtzigt added that he believed it was important for the Netherlands to continue providing civil and military support to Ukraine, and rejected speculations about a “Nexit.” “However, we do see common ground on issues such as sustainable migration, livelihood security, and agriculture/food security,” he further wrote. 

Earlier in the day, Wilders said he was open to building a coalition linking the PVV with the NSC and BBB. This coalition would theoretically be propped up with passive support from the VVD, led by current caretaker Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yesilgöz. 

The PVV is projected to have 37 seats in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Parliament, with NSC taking 20 and BBB winning 7 in the election earlier this month. Combined with the expected 24 seats of the VVD, the four parties would represent 88 of the 150 seats in the Tweede Kamer. 

However, the picture is much different in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Parliament. The BBB is the largest party there with 16 seats, and the PVV has only 4 seats. The VVD would bring 10 more to the table, but NSC did not participate in the elections which led to the composition of the Eerste Kamer, leaving the four parties with a combined total of 30 out of 75 seats. 

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