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Coalition assails anti-Islam party ties

BRUSSELS | The European People’s Party (EPP), an umbrella group of 73 center-right parties, criticized on Sunday a postelection deal between Dutch conservatives and an anti-Islam party.

“I deplore this political evolution because it can threaten the understanding, the cohesion and the solidarity in our European societies,” EPP President Wilfried Martens said in a statement.

“It is the duty of the major political families in Europe to reflect on this unfortunate reality and to combat it jointly,” Mr. Martens said. “As in the past, the EPP will continue to refuse to work with extreme right and extreme left parties at the European Union level.”

Dutch Christian Democrats, a member party of the EPP, approved a draft coalition deal on Saturday to form a minority government with the liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Under the deal, the anti-Islam Party for Freedom will remain outside the government but will provide the majority the coalition needs to enact legislation through parliament in exchange for a say in policymaking.

The liberals and Christian Democrats hold only 52 out of the 150 seats in the parliament’s lower house, but they muster a majority with the help of 24 votes from the PVV after June elections.

From wire dispatches and staff reports