Talks to form far-right Dutch government collapse

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Talks to form a far-right-led government in the Netherlands have come to a premature end – for now. 

The Netherlands is now in limbo as attempts to build a political coalition around anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders have stalled.

Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) swept to victory in the country’s November parliamentary election on campaign pledges that included slashing immigration. 

He was in talks with leaders of three other parties to form a government that would have held a solid majority in the 150-seat lower house of the Dutch parliament.

But potential coalition partners were wary of his more extreme anti-Islam plans. 

Wilders sought to appease them last month by withdrawing draft legislation that included a ban on mosques, Islamic schools and the Quran.

Despite the concessions, tensions came to a head Tuesday night when one of the leaders, Pieter Omtzigt walked out of the coalition talks.

Omtzigt, the leader of the centrist New Social Contract party, said in a written statement he was shocked by the state of government finances and was drawing a line under the talks for now.

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