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Government: Former secret service chief to become prime minister of the Netherlands

Government: Former secret service chief to become prime minister of the Netherlands

It took a good six months: the right-wing populist Wilders and his three partners have agreed on a head of government. The non-partisan civil servant and security expert Schoof is to succeed Mark Rutte.

The former head of the secret service and the anti-terrorism agency, Dick Schoof (67), is to become the new head of government of the Netherlands. This was announced by the four future coalition parties in The Hague. Schoof, who is not affiliated with any party, is currently the highest official in the Ministry of Justice. He is to lead the most right-wing government in the country’s history and succeed the current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is to become NATO Secretary General.

Schoof said he wanted to work to restore citizens’ trust in the state. “I want to be the prime minister of all Dutch people.” He also confirmed that he was non-partisan and did not want to lead the government as a representative of the radical right-wing populist Geert Wilders.

Wilders spoke of a good choice. “He stands above the parties and has our trust.” He also has broad experience.

Around six months ago, the Dutch elected a new parliament. The Party for Freedom (PVV) of the radical right-wing populist Geert Wilders surprisingly became the strongest force with 37 seats. He needed at least two partners to achieve a stable majority. After arduous negotiations, Wilders agreed on a coalition with the right-liberal VVD of the previous head of government Rutte, the right-wing conservative NSC and the right-wing populist farmers’ party BBB.

To make the coalition possible, Wilders renounced the office of head of government and some of his most controversial demands, such as the ban on mosques. Half of the cabinet is to consist of non-professional politicians.

Schoof Expert for Security and Migration

Schoof has not been active in politics until now, but was a member of the Social Democratic Party until a few years ago. He is considered an expert on security and migration – two key issues for the right-wing coalition partners. Schoof headed the AIVD intelligence and security service, was coordinator in the fight against terrorism and also director of the immigration authority.

It will probably take a few more weeks until the entire cabinet is in place. It is expected that the king will be able to swear in the new government in about four weeks.

When presenting the coalition agreement on May 16, the right-wing populist Wilders announced a radical change of course for the Netherlands. The leader of the anti-Islam party promised “the strictest asylum policy ever” and a drastic restriction on immigration. The plans also include relaxing environmental regulations for farmers and cutting subsidies for sustainable energy.

Source: Stern

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