Former spy chief Dick Schoof proposed as Dutch prime minister | Politics News

Schoof, 67, is currently the top official in the Ministry of Justice and former head of the Dutch intelligence service.

Dutch right-wing coalition parties have nominated former security chief Dick Schoof as their preferred candidate to become the next prime minister of the Netherlands.

Schoof, 67, is currently the top official in the Justice Ministry and former head of the Dutch intelligence and immigration services. After almost six months of debate within the coalition, Schoof will succeed outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

“On the recommendation and with the support of the parliamentary coalition leaders… I have found Mr Dick Schoof willing to be available as the intended prime minister,” said Richard van Zwol, the official tasked with leading talks to form a new Dutch government. he said Tuesday.

Despite a surprise election victory in November, far-right leader Geert Wilders gave up his ambition to lead the European Union’s fifth-largest economy amid widespread unrest over his anti-Islam and anti-European views.

Wilders and other coalition leaders asked Schoof, who originally came from the left-wing Labor Party but is seen as an official capable of confronting threats inside and outside the Netherlands, to take over.

Schoof will now be tasked with forming a government alongside van Zwol and the four right-wing coalition partners who have 88 seats in the lower house of the 150-member parliament.

This includes Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), newcomers New Social Contract (NSC) and the pro-agriculture Farmer-Citizen Movement.

The coalition decided that the cabinet will be split in half between politicians and outside experts to implement the Netherlands’ “toughest” immigration policy.

Schoof told reporters at a news conference that his goal was to “decisively” implement policies decided two weeks ago by coalition partners in a draft government agreement.

“This means controlling migration and asylum, providing people, including farmers, with security of life, and considering international security,” he said.

“That’s why I’m here,” Schoof said.

It took about six months for the leaders of four political parties to agree on a government, and the manifesto they published had the hallmarks of Wilders’ far-right PVV.

Wilders told the AFP news agency after the manifesto was published that the new government would implement “the toughest anti-asylum (policy) ever implemented in the Netherlands.”

He promised that the Netherlands would pursue an opt-out from the EU’s common asylum policy, although the idea received a cool reception in Brussels and it is unclear how it would work.

Wilders admitted it would take many years and might not happen, vowing instead to use Dutch law to restrict what he called an “influx of asylum seekers.”

Schoof, who has decades of experience navigating The Hague’s bureaucratic hurdles, said he aspired to be “a prime minister for all Dutch citizens” when asked about implementing Wilders’ policies.

“I’m going to be the prime minister. I am without a party. “I don’t see myself kowtowing to Mr. Wilders,” Schoof told reporters, but stressed that “my plans for the Netherlands are those agreed upon by the coalition leaders.”

Coalition parties now aim to have a government in power before the summer, public presenter NOS said.

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