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A huge defeat for Wilders

A huge defeat for Wilders

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He presses

Geert Wilders (left) and Ronald Plasterk in coalition negotiations. © Agence France-Presse

In the Netherlands, semi-establishment Prime Minister Ronald Plasterk must withdraw his candidacy for the presidency. There is also criticism of The Hague at EU level.

Debate on the new government program of Geert Wilders' right-wing coalition is on the parliament's agenda on Wednesday. But there was already a lot of controversy on Pentecost weekend. Most important of all is Ronald Plasterk, 67, one of the country's “smartest molecular biologists” according to the scientific organization NWO, and also a member of the Social Democratic Party since 1977. He now desperately wants to become prime minister Head of a right-wing coalition. “When the country calls, you have to have good reasons to refuse,” Plasterk said. This was shortly after the elections that took place last November. Wilders then asked him to explore the possibilities of forming a right-wing alliance.

Ego struggle

They both know each other. They both like to feel superior to others. They are both driven by huge egos. Plasterk and Wilders explained their ideas in their own columns in De Telegraaf, and in Plasterk's case, it was publicly noted how he became more and more isolated from the Social Democrats and, in Wilders' case, how he changed the climate. From opinion to truth. Line by line we approached. Also the place to post a Blasterk letter to the editor. De Telegraaf, once the unofficial newspaper of the Dutch people's soul, was now the right-wing publication of the official government.

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The only thing missing from the coalition is a new prime minister. The name Plasterk was at the top. But one person stopped him from doing so: Peter Omtzgut, head of the New Reform Party (NSC). Umtzigt once left the Christian Democrats after political bullying and temporarily withdrew from politics. The man is easily weak. Plasterk, who after completing his PhD at Cambridge conducted research in the team of John Sulston, who later won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, clashed with Omtzigt during the explorations. When he met with the media at a hotel for background discussions, Plasterk used the investigator's limousine. Blastark announced this publicly, Umtzigt frowned. A big ego met a very sensitive one.

Then the apology came through a political advertisement in the newspaper. But this is not enough. The young liberals from Mark Rutte's VVD party reject Blasterck, as do the young liberals from Umzigt's National Security Council party. De Volkskrant complains that researcher Plasterk only misses the premiership because he has a perfect CV. NRC Handelsblad offers more solid reasons. Plasterk sold its biotech startup two years ago for €32 million. It is said to have infringed patent rights. The review is ongoing. Complaints about accounting errors also emerged.

Plasterk is also said to have pressured philanthropist Siewert van Linden to invest in his company. But he is suspected of diverting donations and currently has to respond to coronavirus mask deals. This does not sound like the moral fresh start that the new right-wing coalition promises. Plasterk then withdrew its application on Monday afternoon. This is a serious defeat for Wilders.

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The Netherlands is currently experiencing an erosion of political culture in the form of rapid movement, which now also continues in Parliament. There, Parliament Speaker Martin Bosma of Wilder's Freedom Party objected to the attribution of “right-wing extremism” to the new government coalition during the debate on the new government. Researchers in the field of professional extremism distinguish between right-wing extremism (on the right-wing fringe) and right-wing extremism – going beyond constitutionalism. German courts also recognize this distinction. But Bosma wanted to limit the free discussion in the plenary session linguistically. Green Party leader Jesse Claver demanded: “We have to name the monster by his name.”

Criticism of liberals

There are also concerns from outside. Valerie Heer, leader of the liberal Renewal group in the European Parliament, expressed on social media her “disapproval and concern” about the new alliance with “a party whose values ​​we do not share.” In addition to the FDP, the Renewal faction also includes the right-wing liberal VVD party of outgoing Prime Minister Rutte, which is known to strike a pact with Wilders in the future. Meanwhile, Heyer is a comrade of French President Emmanuel Macron, who opposes Marine Le Pen's success in the European elections. Far-right alliances are uncomfortable.

Thus Heyer thought about the future of the VVD in the Renewal faction. The new government in The Hague is not only shaking the Netherlands.