Netherlands Gets a New Government: What You Need to Know – The New York Times

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The country has sworn in its first far-right government and is trying a new approach after nearly 14 years of Mark Rutte’s leadership. That could have broad implications for the nation and its standing in Europe.

The Netherlands swore in its first far-right government on Tuesday, more than seven months after an election sent shock waves through the Dutch political system.

The new government has pledged to govern the Netherlands differently after nearly 14 years under Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The coalition was formed out of months of negotiations spurred by the success of right-wing leader Geert Wilders’ party in November elections.

“This is an experiment for the Netherlands,” said Armen Hakhverdian, a political scientist at the University of Amsterdam.

Long seen as a bastion of liberalism, the Netherlands is one of several European countries that have experienced electoral swings to the right. Last year, Italy voted in a hard-right leader and Slovakia elected a populist president with ties to Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary; and this weekend in France, the far right surged in the first round of legislative elections.

It remains to be seen how the style of governing — and its far-right leanings — will fare in the Netherlands, a country of nearly 18 million people where the political system rests on a culture of consensus building and the art of compromise. There could also be broad implications for the country’s standing on the international stage.

Here’s what to know about the new government and its role in Europe:

The party of Mr. Wilders — a populist leader known for his anti-Muslim stance — won the largest share of votes in the November elections. Long an anathema to most other political parties, in part because of his anti-Islam rhetoric, Mr. Wilders said in March that he would forgo becoming prime minister in an effort to increase the chances of forming a right-wing coalition.

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