June 2024 \ World News \ International News

Amsterdam: Dick Schoof, the former head of the Dutch intelligence service, is set to become the new Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the incoming right-wing government announced in May.  

Schoof, 67, is the top civil servant at the Justice Ministry and has no current party affiliation. He is regarded as an expert on security and migration -- two burning issues for the four coalition partners.

Schoof was head of the intelligence and security service AIVD, coordinator in the fight against terrorism, and also director of Immigration Services. The Netherlands has been in political limbo since November’s general election, which sent shockwaves across Europe.

Geert Wilders’ nationalist and right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) scored a dramatic victory, but not enough to govern outright. It took months for the “anti-Islam, anti-immigration and anti-EU” firebrand to persuade other parties to join him in a coalition.

Wilders has promised “the strictest asylum policy ever” and drastic curbs on immigration. His programme also includes relaxing environmental regulations for farmers and cancelling subsidies for sustainable energy.

In a concession to make the coalition possible, Wilders said he would not seek to be Prime Minister and renounced some of his most controversial demands, such as the ban on mosques. Wilders finally announced two weeks ago that his PVV had agreed a four-way coalition with the liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the conservative New Social Contract (NSC) party and the populist Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB).

Wilders said Schoof, who was once a member of the centre-left Labour Party, “stands above the parties and has our trust”. It is expected to take several weeks before a Cabinet line-up will be finalised and King Willem-Alexander swears them into office. Rutte, who has been Prime Minister since 2010, is on track to become NATO’s next Secretary General toward the end of the year.

Tags: Netherlands

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