Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Netherlands: the extrê me right is trying to form a coalition

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Geert Wilders, Dutch far-right politician and leader of the PVV party, presented himself victorious to members of his party after the parliamentary elections.

Agence France-Presse

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After the victory of the extreme right in the Dutch legislative elections, the scale of which surprised beyond the borders, an arduous task awaits its Islamophobic leader Geert Wilders from Thursday: convincing his rivals to form a coalition.

His Freedom Party (PVV) won 37 of 150 seats in Parliament, more than double that in the 2021 poll, according to almost complete results.

The voters have spoken. Seats are assigned. It is now important to see what points we can agree on.

A quote from Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV

Speaking to jubilant supporters in The Hague after the exit polls, Mr Wilders reiterated his anti-immigrant rhetoric, saying the Dutch had voted to stem the tsunami of asylum seekers.

However, he later told reporters that he wanted to be the prime minister of all Dutch people and would work hard with other parties to form a coalition.

But the unexpected victory of the 60-year-old politician with the famous peroxide hair does not secure him this position.

The left-ecologists alliance of Francs Timmermans, second with 25 seats, immediately rejected any coalition with Mr. Wilders. The time has come for us to defend democracy, said the former European leader.

Dilan Yesilgöz, leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD, center right, 24 seats) of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, said, after a disappointing result, that it will be necessary to see if Mr. Wilders will manage to forge a coalition.

Before the elections, the leaders of the three main political forces had assured that they would not participate in a government led by the PVV. But the latter can no longer be ignored, insisted Mr. Wilders.

Novice on the political scene, Pieter Omtzigt, of the new anti-corruption party New Social Contract (NSC, 20 seats), said it was available for negotiations, while conceding that the process would not be easy.

It will depend entirely on the VVD, Sarah de Lange, professor of political pluralism at the University of Amsterdam, told AFP. A big question will be who will be prime minister, because with Wilders as prime minister, the Netherlands finds itself in an impossible situation internationally.

Mr. Wilders' victory should be greeted with apprehension in Brussels: Mr. Wilders, anti-EU and pro-Nexit, has promised a referendum on whether the Netherlands should remain in the European Union.

Some people in the Netherlands reacted with concern. People are worried, some are afraid, Habib El-Kaddouri, of the foundation for Dutch-Moroccans SMN, told AFP. Others are uncertain about their future or their place in Dutch society.

The European extreme right welcomed this victory.

Europeans are increasingly demanding that their nations be defended , their borders, their rights, declared the leader of the Spanish far-right group Vox, Santiago Abascal, onHungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban welcomed the winds of change on the same social network. For the leader of the French National Rally Marine Le Pen, this result confirms the growing attachment to the defense of national identities.

Mr. Wilders is sometimes referred to as the Dutch Trump, but he actually entered politics long before the former US president.

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Geert Wilders of the Netherlands Freedom Party, Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior of Italy, and Marine Le Pen of the National Rally participated in a rally of nationalist and far-right parties on the 18 May 2019 in Milan.

Not hesitating to call Moroccans scum or to propose caricature contests of the Prophet Muhammad, Mr. Wilders has built his career fighting against what he calls an Islamic invasion of the West.

Neither his troubles with the law – which found him guilty of insulting Moroccans – nor the death threats against him – which have made him live under police protection since 2004 – have discouraged him. .

More recently, he has tried to tone down his populist rhetoric and focus on voters' concerns other than immigration , like the cost of living crisis. He also said he was ready to put aside his opinions on Islam to govern.

But the PVV manifesto retained its xenophobic tone. It proposes the restoration of Dutch border control, the detention and expulsion of illegal immigrants, the return of Syrian asylum seekers and the reintroduction of work permits for intra-EU workers.

His manifesto also says that the Netherlands is not an Islamic country. No schools, Korans and mosques.

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