Non-party official to become Dutch PM

Just over six months after the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, right-wing populist Geert Wilders (PVV) and his partner parties VVD, BBB and NSC have presented a prime minister for their governing coalition: the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice Dick Schoof, who has no political affiliation, and has also headed the country's intelligence service and immigration authority, among other things. What to make of this choice?

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

A gamble

For De Volkskrant, putting a newcomer to party politics in this high office is a bold move:

“Keeping a government together when political interests clash, remaining firm in major parliamentary debates, forging international alliances; not everyone has the required skills for these tasks. Nobody knows whether Schoof - who lacks any political experience - will be up to the job. So Schoof's nomination is also risky. A gamble that arouses curiosity - and perhaps heralds a new leadership culture in The Hague. But for the time being it's mainly a gamble.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

A good choice but lacking legitimacy

De Telegraaf agrees with the decision but points to a downside:

“With the surprising choice of Dick Schoof, the new coalition has found a prime minister who is a perfect match for the PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB. The top-ranking official has not only been involved in the politics and security of our country at the highest level for years, he also enjoys the personal trust of the party leaders. .... Yet the experiment is also problematic because no one cast a vote for Schoof, which seems slightly undemocratic when it comes to such a crucial post and therefore leaves a bitter aftertaste.”