Dutch elections: Right-wing PVV names left-wing former minister as 'scout'

A former Dutch minister representing the left-wing PvdA has been nominated by Geert Wilders' PVV as scout, responsible for identifying potential coalition partners. He succeeds Gom van Strien, who resigned on Monday after being accused of fraud.

The PVV is expected to nominate Ronald Plasterk on Tuesday. He was Education minister between 2007 and 2010 and Interior minister in former PM Mark Rutte's second government.

Plasterk has recently gained popularity among many right-wing politicians and opinion-makers. In his column for the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, he has opposed many left-wing issues.

In August, he wrote that the PvdA had become alienated from "ordinary people". He also criticised the European climate policy drawn up in Brussels in recent years by Frans Timmermans, the leading candidate for the GroenLinks-PvdA alliance in last week's elections, in which the PVV won the most seats. Plasterk is also opposed to further cooperation between GroenLinks and the PvdA and has attacked other parties, including the centre-left D66.

Gom van Strien was supposed to start talks with the prospective leaders of the largest parties on Monday. Over the weekend, however, Dutch newspaper NRC reported that Van Strien had been accused of fraud. He denies the accusations, but resigned from his post in agreement with Wilders.


PVV leader Geert Wilders speaks to the press about the departure of Gom van Strien © PHOTO ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN / ANP / AFP

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