Wednesday

31st Aug 2016

Gains for Wilders' anti-immigration party in Dutch elections

Early results suggest the hard-right anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders looks set to emerge as the main winner in local elections held in the Netherlands on Wednesday (3 March), setting the stage for a national showdown in June.

"We are going to conquer the entire country ... We are going to be the biggest party in the country," said the blond-haired Mr Wilders as the results came through.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Although the Party for Freedom (PVV) only fielded candidates in two local constituencies, a new opinion poll that coincided with the vote suggested the party was set to make significant gains in the summer general elections.

The running of PVV candidates in the central municipalities of the Hague and Almere marks the first time the anti-Muslim populist Wilders has attempted to establish his party in local government.

With roughly 50 per cent of the vote counted in the Hague on Wednesday night, the PVV was in second place behind the Labour Party, while early returns from Almere suggested the PVV was set to become the biggest single party there.

"This is an enormous breakthrough," Sietse Fritsma, the leading PVV candidate in the Hague, told cheering supporters. "This is going to drive established politics completely crazy."

Mr Wilders, who likens the Qur'an to Hitler's Mein Kampf and supports the deportation of Muslim immigrants, made banning headscarves from local council offices its main campaign pledge. Amidst heavy security, many muslims and non-muslims turned up to the voting booths in the two constituencies wearing headscarves as a sign of protest.

New poll

The local elections have been overshadowed however by the fall of the coalition government ten days ago, with new opinion poll results from Dutch broadcaster NOS suggesting Mr Wilders is set to become the main beneficiary of the fallout.

The poll predicted the PVV could take between 24 and 27 of the 150 seats in parliament, placing the party in the top three and making the Mr Wilders a key player in the Netherlands' highly fragmented political scene that usually sees two or three parties form a government. The PVV currently has 9 seats in the Dutch legislature.

If Mr Wilders repeats the performance in the June elections, he could become the next prime minister, according to national radio.

But despite signals it is willing to make compromises, many mainstream parties cannot imagine forming a coalition with the PVV party due to its extreme views, raising questions over the construction of the next government.

The recent collapse of the Christian Democrat-Labour coalition occured when the Labour party, the junior partner, refused to extend the presence of 2,000 Dutch troops in Afghanistan which are scheduled to be withdrawn from August onwards.

Both parties, the two largest in the Netherlands, lost votes in Wednesday's local elections. The other big winners in the vote were the left-of-centre parties Green Left, and Democrat 66.

"We have to stop this country getting more polarised, not only between ethnic groups but also between generations," declared Alexander Pechtold, leader of D66.

Column / Brexit Briefing

UK cannot have and eat EU cake

The UK’s two main demands: migration control and single market access are irreconcilable. Something will have to give.

Gulen faithful at work in EU capital

Persecuted in Turkey as the alleged authors of the July putsch, the followers of Islamic teacher Fethullah Gulen are highly active in the EU capital.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EuridThe 2016 .eu Web Awards is a Chance to Make Dreams Come True so Vote Today !
  2. Nordic CouncilNordic-Baltic Co-operation Vital in Turbulent Times
  3. GoogleBrussels: Home of Beer, Fries, Chocolate and Google’s Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  4. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students to China for ICT Training
  5. EFASpain is Not a Democratic State. EFA Expresses Solidarity to A. Otegi and EH Bildu
  6. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  7. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  8. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  9. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Applies Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  10. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  12. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER

Latest News

  1. Verheugen did not think VW cheating was morally possible
  2. Greece and EU to tackle labour market reform
  3. EU's €13bn tax decision angers Ireland, US, and Apple
  4. EU and US continue trade talks despite French criticism
  5. UK cannot have and eat EU cake
  6. Apple ordered to repay a record €13 billion to Ireland
  7. End in sight for EU-Poland dispute, says deputy PM
  8. Turkey pledges loyalty to EU and Nato