Dutch anti-Islamic populist Geert Wilders has dropped his bid for prime minister

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Geert Wilders' victory last year rocked Dutch politics and sent shockwaves across Europe

Dutch anti-Islamic populist leader Geert Wilders has abandoned his bid to become prime minister despite his party's dramatic victory in the 2023 election.

“I can only become PM if all parties in coalition support me. Not so,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

His Freedom Party (PVV) won the most votes last year, but needed the support of other parties to form a coalition.

Talks are ongoing with the three parties to form a new government.

The negotiator, who is leading the latest round of talks that ended on Tuesday, is scheduled to share his report in Parliament on Thursday.

“I want a right-wing cabinet. Less asylum and immigration. Dutch people first. Love for my country and voters is bigger and more important than my own position,” Mr Wilders wrote in his post on Wednesday evening.

Mr Wilders, 60, has been in talks for months to form a coalition government with the centre-right liberal VVD, the New Social Contract (NSC) and BBB farmers parties.

According to Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the leaders of the trio insisted this week that the only way they were prepared to move forward was if all four party leaders agreed not to take part in government.

It was not immediately clear whether a compromise was reached for the prime minister's post.

A parliamentary debate is also expected on Thursday, when Kim Butters, the person in charge of the talks between the four parties, will present his findings.

He will announce that the parties are ready to form a minority government with a “parliamentary extra-cabinet”, meaning none of the four party leaders will hold ministerial posts but will be MPs.

It is not clear who will be the Prime Minister and who will be in the Cabinet. After 14 years under Mark Rutte, the next Dutch government will have a key figure as prime minister, while ministers may be drawn from outside and inside politics.

That kind of cabinet is favored by new Social Deal leader Peter Omdzicht and liberal VVD leader Dylan Yesilkos. Although it is still unclear how it will work, Parliament will be handed a brief list of principles to adhere to, giving it broad powers.

The last time a prime minister came from the largest party in a Dutch government was in the 1980s. According to Dutch media, the last time a Dutch prime minister was not the head of a ruling party.

The PVV's victory last year not only shook up Dutch politics, but had ramifications across Europe, as the Netherlands is now one of the founding members of the European Union.

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