Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) leader Caroline van der Plas (C) and People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) leader Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius (R) take part in an election debate. EPA-EFE/ROBIN UTRECHT


Dutch elections: Farmer-Citizen Movement urges talks with Wilders


Dutch Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) leader Caroline Van der Plas has called on the centre-right Liberals and centrists of Pieter Omtzigt to sit down and talk with Geert Wilder’s PVV and her BBB parties.

In a letter sent to lead coalition government negotiator Ronald Plasterk, van der Plas said she aimed to break the current stalemate in the talks to form a new regime.

She said she wanted to see an end to politicians locking horns with each other on social media. “If you can argue with each other on X, you can do the same at the table. In fact, the table is preferable.”

Van der Plas said she believed the Dutch election results should be respected. According to her, the Netherlands public gave a clear signal in the vote “with a majority for a centre-right cabinet”.

She added, “it is out of this world” that some parties were throwing up roadblocks ahead of any genuine conversations.

“Whether [or not] you find an agreement is something different, but I find it bizarre that they are not even talking to each other,” she said.

If the four parties talk to each other, it would be a signal that they are taking the peoples’ desires seriously, she added.

“We are here for all citizens of the Netherlands and therefore believe that all of them, within the limits of our rule of law, democracy and in accordance with Article 1 of the Constitution, have the right to be who they are and to believe what they believe and do not believe. That is what we stand for.”

Some politicians claim past remarks by Wilders were discriminatory and went against fundamental freedoms and rights.

In order to quell those impressions, van der Plas suggested a “group manifesto” formed by the political leaders in a possible coalition, “in which we agree on the limits that the rule of law and Constitution can give us”.

She noted a similar initiative had already taken place at the local level in the province of Flevoland, where there is a coalition that includes Wilders’ PVV.

In her conclusion, van der Plas wrote that her party “puts citizens and the country’s interest first. Partisan politics and strategic manoeuvring must stop”.

She said: “The voters placed their trust in our hands on November 22. Our country must be healed. The many crises demand a solution. The Netherlands currently finds itself in a state of stagnation, demanding urgent revitalisation.”

Wilders has had a long track record of being outspoken, often targeting certain minorities. Many politicians took offence when he said the country needed “less Moroccans”, for instance.

In the past, he also said he wanted to shut down all Mosques and ban Qurans because he sees Islam as a violent, totalitarian ideology.

During the latest electoral campaign he changed course and became more moderate and soft-spoken, earning the nickname “Geert Milders”.

This gentle touch might have contributed to his party’s strong showing. The public’s dissatisfaction at ever-growing mass migration is also thought to have been a factor.