Well he’s not done quite as well as was expected a few months ago but the platinum bombshell, Geert Wilders, is still nonetheless now an unavoidable fact in mainstream Dutch politics.
Wilders – who campaigned on an anti-immigration, anti-Islam platform – has more than doubled support for his Freedom Party.He has gained 24 seats in the new parliament – up from 9.
This would of course not be a big deal if Wilders was not such a polarizing political voice – not just in Holland but also across Europe.He has for the last 6 years been living under 24 hour police protection because of a series of death threats made against him.He is also currently on trial for inciting racial hatred after comparing the Quran to Mein Kampf and Islam to Nazism.
Wilders politics cause offence to many – he was banned from entering the UK in 2009 – but they also strike a chord with plenty of disgruntled voters.
With an even more prominent position – due to his electoral showing – Wilders is expected to use his success to turn the volume up even higher on his core message; Islam is unwelcome in Holland and Europe; a country and continent with Christian and democratic foundations.
Despite his support – PVV is now the third party in Holland – a cabinet position may still be out of reach in any new coalition. Many Dutch politicians find his views morally rebarbative.
But that does not mean he won’t be able to shape opinion. With more seats in parliament Wilders is likely to create even greater divisions in Dutch politics and multi-cultural tolerance.