In the Netherlands, first tensions in the coalition after contested appointments by Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders, president of the Party for Freedom (PVV, far right), before an emergency meeting of the conference, in The Hague (Netherlands), June 14, 2024. ROBIN UTRECHT / AFP

It did not take long before the new Dutch government, which has still not officially taken office, experienced its first crisis. An emergency meeting was called on Friday June 14 between the four partners of the future coalition dominated by the far right, who were to debate the appointment of certain ministers.

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In question, the withdrawal, decided by Geert Wilders, on Thursday, of the title of deputy prime minister and minister of asylum and migration which he had bestowed, forty-eight hours earlier, on a member of his Party for Freedom (PVV, far right). A “security investigation” carried out by the intelligence services, the contents of which were not revealed, made the appointment of the very controversial Gidi Markuszower impossible. “They want me to bow down, it’s unfair but I’m afraid I can’t do otherwise”commented the person concerned, speaking of a “Kafkaesque situation”.

Author of often thunderous remarks, arrested for illegally carrying a weapon, this former spokesperson for Likud, the Israeli conservative party, in the Netherlands, Mr. Markuszower was suspected by the intelligence services, in 2018, of having delivered information to Mossad. The investigation launched at the time did not produce clear conclusions.

Links with a conspiracy theorist

In 2021, the deputy was called to order by the president of the Second Chamber for having denounced the policy “criminal” of the government in matters of immigration. And he is also accused of having maintained links with a conspiracy theorist who has repeatedly made accusations of pedophilia against political figures, including the resigning liberal Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

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This first hitch in the life of the government that Dirk Schoof will lead was quickly followed by another when Mr. Wilders announced on Thursday his intention to appoint Marjolien Faber to replace Mr. Markuszower. Something to irritate Dilan YesilgozZegerius, Mr. Wilders’ main partner: the leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD, liberal) and outgoing justice minister, estimated that this sixty-year-old, a long-time loyalist of the far-right leader, was not “not free from controversy”.

An allusion to the fact that she would have, in 2015, diverted money from her party for the benefit of her son, according to media investigations. In 2017, she denounced the appointment of the mayor of the city of Arnhem, Ahmed Marcouch, a popular figure in the social democratic party, by chanting “No Arnhemmistan!” We are losing our country! “. In 2019, she cited “reliable sources” to wrongly designate a North African as responsible for a knife attack in Groningen. The elected official also made herself famous by pleading against “the great replacement” and for asking Mr Rutte if “a fifth column”namely supporters of Islamism, did not hide behind his government.

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