Geert Wilders’ victory in Netherlands election spooks Europe
Geert Wilders’ victory in Netherlands election spooks Europe Wilders in Wednesday’s general election set international headlines on fire.
European right-wing nationalists rushed to congratulate the populist politician, sometimes dubbed the Dutch Trump – partly because of his dyed, bouffant-like hairstyle, and partly because of his fiery rhetoric.
According to Geert Wilders, his public views — including linking Muslim immigration to terrorism and calling for a ban on mosques and the Quran — are so provocative that he has been under police protection since 2004.
In 2009, Wilders was refused entry to the UK after being convicted of inciting discrimination, although he was later acquitted.
Nevertheless, the far right in Europe believes that their views have become more mainstream in recent years.
Following the Dutch election results, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, declared “the winds of change are here!”. Similarly to Geert Wilders, he advocates anti-immigration themes and Euroscepticism against Brussels.
He was quick to conclude: “Parties like ours are on the way in all of Europe.” Tom Van Grieken, a far-right Flemish independence leader, hope for a similar return to power in Belgium as Geert Wilders did in the Netherlands.
Even the man himself was not expecting such a high number of seats in parliament. In a video posted on social media on Wednesday, he dances in surprised delight as he watches results come in.
Wilders’ campaign rented a room three days prior to election night to use as a party headquarters. It wasn’t until the very end of the campaign that his Freedom Party surged in the polls.
Yesilgöz-Zegerius, leader of the centre-right VVD, opened the door to coalition with Wilders during her campaign.
As a result, his party’s extremist image was softened. As a result of his politics, the Netherlands mainstream had ruled out the idea of governing with him.