It is not Schoof, but Wilders who is the protagonist of the debate with the new cabinet

It is D66 leader Rob Jetten who exposes the Achilles heel of this cabinet. “Geert Wilders has dictated its extreme course for eighteen years. He spreads hatred and has been condemned for insulting a group. Now the Wilders-1 cabinet is possible thanks to NSC, VVD and BBB.”

An insult to Mr Schoof, says BBB party leader Caroline van der Plas. “Let Mr Schoof first state that he is not under Mr Wilders’ leash,” Jetten replies.

The tone has already been set. It is not Prime Minister Dick Schoof, but PVV leader Wilders, who is being harshly attacked by the opposition during the debate on the government’s declaration. Not because of the content, but because of the statements on repopulation by PVV ministers Marjolein Faber and Reinette Klever. Although they distance themselves from the term, that is not enough for the opposition. They continue to largely defend the ideas behind this theory: white Europeans are being replaced by non-Europeans. For this reason, GroenLinks-PvdA even announces a motion of no confidence against the two PVV ministers. This is rather unusual, because the ministers have not yet been able to defend themselves.

Arrows pointed at him

This is an indication of the style of opposition to this experimental form of government. Even if Geert Wilders sits in the House of Representatives as party leader, the arrows will still be pointing at him. He must answer for the statements of the PVV ministers.

He repeats Faber’s mantra: he distances himself from the term, but does not fail to mention that the demographic composition of the population is changing and that this has consequences. “This has been going on for years,” Wilders defends himself against the fierce attack of the opposition. He speaks of his experiences when he lived in the Kanaleneiland district of Utrecht. “I had to run home. Otherwise I would be beaten. There were only djellabas on the street there.”

The content of the government’s statement thus fades into the background. As does Schoof’s name. He is only mentioned in passing in the contributions of the various groups.

When a new cabinet takes office, the Prime Minister traditionally begins with a government declaration. Normally there is a lot of discussion about its content because there is also a coalition agreement. That is not the case now. The main framework agreement between NSC, BBB, VVD and BBB has already been discussed and plans are still being worked out. A coalition agreement is not expected until Budget Day.

Omtzigt disappointed

Omtzigt is disappointed, however. When several left-wing opposition parties accuse him of having helped make this cabinet with these ministers possible, he says: “I was hoping we would also talk about the Russian threat. I know that Mr Schoof received a call from Ukrainian Prime Minister Zelensky during the break.”

In vain. Klever and Faber are, unwittingly, the protagonists of this debate. They watch from section K, the place in the Chamber where the ministers take their seats. They are not allowed to say anything. Faber occasionally shakes his head, Klever sometimes looks up from his phone when he hears his name.

The honeymoon period is short-lived for some ministers. The stage scene and the congratulations before the debate formed a brief interlude. The PVV squad of this cabinet will have to be given special treatment in the near future.

Changing the composition of the population

The extra-parliamentary form of government will also be under scrutiny. Now that the party leaders have taken their seats in the House, the opposition will ensure that the four party leaders actually fulfil their oversight duties. Party leader Lauren Dassen (Volt) asked Omtzigt why he did not debate Wilders when he spoke of a change in the composition of the population. “Stay still, I would expect you to draw a line.”

Schoof will also be critically questioned about how to draw the line in the near future. On Thursday he will have the opportunity to answer parliamentary questions in detail. That will be his real test. During the reading of the government statement, he again promised to respect the rule of law, but he also explicitly addressed Wilders: “I want to thank him. He did everything he could to make this a success. This must be a milestone for him.” The PVV faction is shaking its seats. In addition, there is absolute silence in the House.

Read also:

Timmermans surprises with an early vote of no confidence against two PVV ministers

At the start of the debate, GroenLinks-PvdA leader Timmermans believes that confidence in the new ministers Klever and Faber has been irreparably damaged.

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For lobbyists, Schoof and the PVV are a mystery

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