Dutch now have former secret service chief as prime minister

Former spy chief Dick Schoof was voted in as Dutch prime minister on Tuesday, heading a right-wing coalition cabinet with a mandate to implement the country's "strictest-ever" immigration policy.

Two hundred and twenty-three days after far-right leader Geert Wilders swept to an election victory that stunned Europe and the world, Schoof takes over from Mark Rutte after 14 years in power.

Wilders was forced to shelve his own ambitions to be prime minister to keep rocky coalition talks on track, some negotiation partners considered his anti-Muslim and eurosceptic statements too extreme to lead the nation.

Instead, the four coalition partners agreed their leaders would not serve in government, compromising on Schoof, 67, who was previously running the Dutch Secret Service AIVD.

He has vowed to implement "decisively" the coalition plans for the "strictest-ever admission policy for asylum and the most comprehensive package for getting a grip on migration".

The 26-page coalition agreement, titled "Hope, courage and pride", also called to examine the idea of moving the Dutch embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Without a party"

Schoof, an avid marathon runner, has said he aims to be "a prime minister for all Dutch citizens", adding: "I am without a party. I don't see myself kowtowing to Mr Wilders".

(With newswires)

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