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Will Holland's likely new PM turn to Geert Wilders as a coalition partner?

Further to yesterday's report, the right-wing VVD of Mark Rutte did win most seats in the Dutch elections (31 of 150) but will need to choose at least two coalition partners in order to have a parliamentary majority.

A coalition of the centre could see Mr Rutte form a coalition with the traditional centrist parties - Labour (who won 30 seats, down 3) and the Christian Democrats who won 20 - half their previous total).

Alternatively Mr Rutte - who did not rule out any coalition arrangement - could work with the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders. Wilders did even better than expected - increasing his representation from 9 to 24 seats. This makes him Holland's third biggest party. Wilders was banned from entering Britain by Jacqui Smith when she was Home Secretary because of her belief that his attitude towards Muslims represented a danger to public safety.

Mr Wilders' left-ish economic views may be as much of a problem for Rutte as his opposition, for example, to new mosques being built. Rutte fought the election on a Thatcherite programme of deficit reduction.

The Times reviews the options:

"There are several main options for a new government, depending on the exact results: a “purple” coalition of Mr Rutte’s VVD with Labour and two other parties; a right-wing alliance of the VVD with the Christian Democrats, the Freedom Party and one other party; or a left-wing grouping of Labour with some or all of the Christian Democrats, the left-wing Liberals of D66, forecast to have ten MPs (up from seven) and the Greens (with eleven MPs, up from four), or the Socialists (with sixteen MPs, up from nine)."

Business Week fears it could be months before a new government is formed.


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