“Make The Netherlands Great Again” is one of Geert Wilders campaign slogans. While Wilders may have many similarities to Donald Trump when it comes to being outspoken, the Dutch firebrand is much more outspoken about how the radical ideology of Islam has harmed Europe and specifically the Netherlands. He makes it very clear that “There are moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam.” (Watch video at bottom of article to see his lengthy speech about Islam and how it affects European nations where Islamists have migrated).
The French presidential election will take place in April and May. In September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be seeking a fourth term.
All three elections will be critical for the future of the EU, as the rise of right-wing populism and nationalism threatens some of the key bedrocks of the European project.
All eyes this week will be on the Freedom Party’s Geert Wilders as he gets a chance to test his electoral popularity in an era of massive political upsets.
The international media like to portray him as the Dutch Donald Trump. But beyond the big hair, the Twitter tirades and the brash personalities there are a number of key differences between the two.
Only a 21-mile drive from the legalised prostitute booths and cannabis coffee shops of liberal bastion Amsterdam, Almere is another world.
It is a multicultural melting pot where nearly 40 per cent are immigrants.
It is also the heartland of extremist Wilders’ PVV, or Freedom Party, whose Nexit and anti-Islam rhetoric has propelled it to the top of opinion polls in a country where six per cent of the population is Muslim.
Wilders — whose campaign mottos include “Make the Netherlands great again” — has won popularity by tempering his anti-Islam outbursts with traditional Dutch liberalism.
“He pointed out that immigrants are sometimes very hostile to homosexuals, Jews and women’s rights.
“Wilders, who is progressive on gay and women’s rights, has taken this message and radicalised it further.”
And that message resonates with people in Almere’s bustling market.
Watch Wilders explain how he is different and how he is similar to President Donald Trump:
He is vowing to “de-Islamise” the Netherlands by shutting mosques and Islamic schools, banning the Koran and having “zero asylum seekers and no immigrants anymore from Islamic countries”.
Watch Geert Wilders tell Sean Hannity about how he was sued in a criminal court for speaking the truth about Mohammad:
Muslims make up about 6 per cent of the Dutch population, mostly from Moroccan and Turkish backgrounds.
While campaigning in February, Mr Wilders said, “there is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe, mostly young people — and that should change”.
‘Enough of mass immigration’
The first paragraph of his manifesto states: “Millions of Dutch citizens have simply had enough of the Islamisation of our country. Enough of mass immigration and asylum, terror, violence and insecurity.”
Pressure to move closer to Wilders’ agenda
Mr Wilders could win the popular vote, but he is unlikely to be his country’s next prime minister.
He had led the polls since November, but a “poll of polls” two weeks out from the vote had him just behind Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Mr Wilders was on 15.7 per cent, Mr Rutte 16.3 per cent.
The Dutch House of Representatives has 150 members who are elected in four-year terms. Like the Australian Senate, their lower house is elected by a system of proportional representation.
This means the seats are split between an array of major and minor parties. The next prime minister will probably have to form a coalition with a range of parties.
All major parties have ruled out striking a power-sharing agreement with Mr Wilders, even if he wins the popular vote. They consider his policies to be either too extreme or simply unconstitutional.
This does not mean a high vote for Mr Wilders would be meaningless. If he does do well on Wednesday, it will put pressure on whoever wins to move closer to his agenda.-ABC
Wilders explains the difference between Muslims and Islamists and how the Islamists will destroy countries where they migrate: