Former Labour minister is Wilders’ new choice as scout
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Ronald Plasterk in 2016. Photo: EU2016 NL

Former Labour party minister Ronald Plasterk is Geert Wilders’ new choice as verkenner – the person to start off the coalition negotiations following last week’s election – news agency ANP said on Monday evening.

Wilders’ first choice, PVV senator Gom van Strien stood down earlier on Monday after the NRC reported on fraud allegations he faced in connection with shares in a Utrecht University company.

Plasterk, was education minister from 2007 to 2010 and home affairs minister from 2012 to 2017 on behalf of the PvdA.

Since then he has made a name for himself writing columns in the populist daily Telegraaf and described the election results in his most recent piece as “healthy”.

“What should happen now? That’s not a difficult question,” he wrote. “Justice needs to be done to the election results. The winners are the PVV (37 seats), NSC (20) and BBB (7), and –  yes, a loser but still big, the VVD (24). Together they have a clear majority and a lot of points in common.”

“There are no serious alternatives,” he said. “The cabinet formation is not enormously complicated and does not need to take long.”

The left-wing GroenLinks/PvdA alliance came second in the poll with 27 seats. Plasterk has repeatedly criticised his former party for being too distant from its traditional voters.

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