Former spy chief Dick Schoof Netherlands

Dick Sworn In As Netherlands PM Seven Months After Right-Wing Victory In Polls

Former spy chief Dick Schoof Netherlands

Former spy chief Dick Schoof was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of the Netherlands on Tuesday, leading a broad right-wing coalition cabinet promising to implement the country’s “strictest-ever” immigration policy, Euro News reported.

Along with Schoof, Dutch King Willem-Alexander also swore in the new ministers and state secretaries at the royal Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague.

The 67-year-old independent has taken over the reins from departing PM Mark Rutte, who is set to become the next secretary-general of NATO later this year.

The passing of the baton comes after more than seven months of protracted negotiations following the electoral victory of far-right leader Geert Wilders last November.

Wilders gave up on his ambition to become the Prime Minister to keep strained coalition talks on track after he failed to garner the support of all partners. His government partners considered his “anti-Islam” and “Eurosceptic” statements too extreme to lead the nation, according to Euro News.

Instead of having their leaders stand for PM, the four coalition partners — Wilders’ PVV (Freedom Party), the Famers Party (BBB), the liberal-conservative VVD, and the new anti-corruption party NSC — agreed to compromise on Schoof, who was previously running the Dutch Secret Service.

Schoof has vowed to implement “decisively” the coalition’s plans for the “strictest-ever admission policy for asylum and the most comprehensive package for getting a grip on migration.”

Wilders’ far-right party secured five out of 15 ministerial posts in the new government, including trade and migration, Euro News reported.

Wilders registered a convincing win in the national elections in November last. Nearly a quarter of Dutch voters chose his party, which took 37 of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, a big number by the standards of a Dutch party system that rests on consensus and coalition building, the New York Times reported.

Wilders, who founded his Party for Freedom in 2006, is one of the Netherlands’ best-known politicians and the longest-sitting member of the House of Representatives, where he has served since 1998.

Wilders has said he wants to end immigration from Muslim countries, tax headscarves and ban the Quran. He has even called Moroccan immigrants “scum.”

Meanwhile, Schoof’s predecessor, Mark Rutte, was appointed as the next chief of the transatlantic military alliance NATO last week, a development that comes at a critical time for European security amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Bowing out of Dutch politics after nearly 14 years as PM, Rutte will take over from Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on October 1, NATO said in a statement. (ANI)

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