Xenophobic anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders secures most seats in Dutch election

Europe
Fri, 24 Nov 2023 5:38 GMT
In election campaign, Wilders pledged closing mosques, Islamic schools in Netherlands.
Xenophobic anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders secures most seats in Dutch election

Wednesday's general election in the Netherlands has produced an unpredicted win for far-right politician Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom, as it won 34 seats in the 150-seat parliament with 98% of the votes counted.

Wilders, who is a staunch anti-Islam populist, has doubled his party's votes since 2021, with one fourth of votes cast for PVV, the Dutch acronym for the Party for Freedom.

The GroenLinks/PvdA alliance, a coalition led by former European commissioner Frans Timmermans, has won 25 seats in the election.

The votes of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, known as VDD, has dropped dramatically as the party won 24 seats.

Geert Wilders

Wilders is a well-known populist politician for more than 20 years against Islam and Muslims with his open insults to Prophet Muhammed and holy Quran.

In 2019, Wilders organized a cartoon contest to ridicule Prophet Muhammad after first cancelling it in 2018 following death threats.

The fascist leader often uses social media platforms to attack Islam. A video he shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, in 2021 was strongly condemned by Turkish officials.

Wilders was denied entry to the UK after he arrived at Heathrow airport in London in a bid to attend a show of his 15-minute movie, Fitna – an anti-Muslim film desecrating the Quran – in 2009.

In 2011, he was acquitted by a Dutch court in a hate speech trial where he was accused for remarks on Islam and calling for a ban on the Quran. He was convicted for insulting Moroccans in 2020.

Wilders toned down his extreme anti-Islam rhetoric in the wake of Wednesday's election, concentrating on wider issues such as housing shortages and the cost-of-living crisis.

During his election campaign he pledged the closure of Islamic schools and mosques but said after first results Wednesday night that he would not breach Dutch laws or the constitution regarding freedom of religion and expression.

"With a reduction in the asylum and immigration flood to the Netherlands, the Islamization of our country will also be reduced," his party said in election propaganda.

It further said: "The Netherlands is not an Islamic country: no Islamic schools, Qurans and mosques.

"We want less Islam in the Netherlands and we will achieve that through: less non-Western immigration and the introduction of a general halt to asylum.

"Ban on wearing Islamic scarves in government buildings."

Wilders also intended to meddle with the first round of Turkish presidential election held in May, urging Turkish people living in the Netherlands who voted for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to leave the Netherlands.

Wilders' election manifesto further called for a referendum on the Netherlands' leaving the EU, sparking discussions on the country's departure from the bloc.

He also pledged a total halt to accepting asylum seekers into the Netherlands and migrant pushbacks at the country's borders.

Israel supporter

Wilders is also a staunch supporter of Israel with his clear anti-Palestine stance.

The far-right politician has advocated the relocation of the Dutch Embassy to Jerusalem from Israel's capital Tel Aviv and closing the Dutch diplomatic post in Ramallah in Palestine.

Wilders, who is married to a Hungarian-Jewish diplomat, spent some years in Jewish settlements in occupied Palestine as a young man, gathering the first anti-Islam principles.

AA

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