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Nationalist leader is close to forming government in the Netherlands

Dutch nationalist leader Geert Wilders is on the verge of sealing a deal — possibly as soon as Wednesday (15) — to form the Netherlands' most right-wing government in decades, almost six months after a major electoral victory.

Wilders, who has influenced Dutch immigration policy from the opposition since 2006 and is known for his outspoken views on Islam, is expected to announce a four-party coalition later.

Arguments have dragged on for months since Wilders' surprise election victory on November 22, with immigration, finance and climate among the main points of friction.

A breakthrough was achieved in March, when Wilders toned down his anti-European Union and anti-Islam rhetoric, gave up on becoming prime minister and abandoned opposition to all military support for Ukraine.

“I can’t see this failing,” Wilders told reporters after 16 hours of negotiations during which the parties said they had reached an agreement on the government’s finances.

He told journalists as he entered Wednesday's meetings: “If everything goes according to plan today, it will be a great result.”

A Labor Party veteran who led some of the coalition negotiations, Ronald Plasterk, has been named in the Dutch press as a likely candidate to lead a new government, but this has not been officially confirmed.

The deal is expected to bring together Prime Minister Mark Rutte's center-right VVD party, the new centrist NSC party and the new BBB farmers' party in a coalition with a strong majority of 88 seats in the lower house of Parliament, out of a total of 150 seats.

After Rutte announced his departure from Dutch politics last year, Wilders rode a wave of anti-immigration and anti-establishment to score his biggest electoral victory, blaming the influx of asylum seekers for the lack of housing.

He also acknowledged widespread concerns about the cost of living and the overburdened health care system.

Source: CNN Brasil

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