Far-right anti-Islam party set to double seats in Dutch election
Published: 7:00AM BST 07 Jun 2010
The far-right Party for Freedom, which has campaigned on a ticket of ending the “Islamic invasion”, is expected to double its representation in the Dutch parliament, giving it enough seats to become a potential ruling coalition candidate.
The party is predicted to win 18 seats in the forthcoming elections. It currently holds nine.
Led by anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, the party claims that 40 per cent of social security payments go to non-Western immigrants and that people of Moroccan origin are suspected of committing crime five times more often than the indigenous Dutch.
“The sluice gates are wide open”, Mr Wilders said in a campaign video that showed planes landing in Holland as women in headscarves outnumber natives in shopping street scenes.
“Every day we are confronted with mass immigration: headscarves, burqas, minarets, social security dependence, crime … it never ends,” he laments as dramatic music plays in the background of the clip released ahead of June 9 parliamentary elections.
“Whole neighbourhoods are being Islamised.”
Mr Wilders' bold move onto the shaky ground of multi-cultural tolerance, for long a matter of Dutch pride, “has prompted other parties to adopt a stricter approach to security and the integration of Muslims”, said political analyst Martin Rosema of Twente University.
Many parties' manifestos now propose an immigration cut, mainly for the low skilled, and harsher treatment of foreign criminals.
Mr Wilders' PVV came first in Almere and second in The Hague in local elections in March – the only cities it contested in its first-ever municipal campaign.
But the PVV finds itself in opposition in both cities as other parties formed coalitions to exclude it, a situation observers expect to be repeated on the national stage.
Mr Wilders has called his political enemies “multi-cultural cuddlers”.
“What the Netherlands needs is a stop to immigration for people from Muslim countries,” said the politician who has also called for a “head rag tax” on headscarves.
Twenty per cent of the Netherlands' 16.5 million-strong population is of immigrant origin.
The liberal VVD party is in the lead ahead of the parliamentary elections.
Opinion polls expect almost 40 seats out of 150 in the Dutch lower house of parliament to go to the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which proposes severe public spending cuts in the first elections in a eurozone country since the Greek crisis struck.
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