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Dutch right-wing coalition taps former security boss as next PM

Dick Schoof is the former head of the Dutch secret and immigration services [Getty/file photo]

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

Schoof, 67, is currently the top official at the justice ministry and a former head of the Dutch secret and immigration services. He will succeed outgoing Premier Mark Rutte.

“On the recommendation of, 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.

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

Instead Wilders and other coalition leaders asked Schoof, who originally came from the left-wing Labour party but is seen as a no-nonsense securocrat able to tackle threats from both inside the Netherlands and abroad, to take the role.

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

This includes Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV), outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), newcomers the New Social Contract (NSC) party and the agriculture-friendly Citizen-Farmer Movement.

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

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