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Netherlands' Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders attends a news conference after a European far-right leaders meeting in Koblenz, Germany, January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay(reuters_tickers)
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Tuesday the chance that far-right politician Geert Wilders will be in a new government after March elections is "very small."
Dijsselbloem told broadcaster RTL Z that Wilders is unlikely to be part of a coalition government after Prime Minister Mark Rutte ruled out sharing power with Wilders, who wants the Netherlands to leave the European Union and close its border to Muslim immigrants.
Wilders is leading in opinion polls ahead of the March 15 parliamentary elections, but he is not expected to gain enough support to govern outright. All major parties contesting the vote, including Rutte's trailing Liberals, have ruled out taking part in a coalition with Wilders.
Under the Dutch political system, parties generally form coalitions with a majority of seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament. But the political landscape has become so fragmented that it could be very difficult to find a combination of parties willing to share power.
A record 81 parties have registered to take part in the election, although the final number is expected to be lower because participants tend to drop out closer to election day.
(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Hugh Lawson)