Jun 11 2010
In fact, Dutch Muslims consider it A SLAP IN THE FACE
Best known for his strident attacks on Islam, Mr Wilders’ electoral triumph sent shock waves through the country’s large immigrant communities and sounded the death knell for the image of the Netherlands as a bastion of tolerance. Mr Wilders has built much of his success on making headline-grabbing demands, such as calling for a ban on MUSLIM headscarves in public places and an immediate stop on MUSLIM immigration, and has in the past been unwilling to soften his tone.
The shock-factor was all the greater as the peroxide-haired politician had appeared sidelined during the election campaign, as the mainstream parties focused on how to deal with the nation’s economic woes and immigration slipped down the political agenda.
Yet Mr Wilders made the strongest gains in Wednesday’s election, doubling the number of seats for his Freedom Party to 24. The pro-business VDD party – which Mr Wilders left to set up on his own – won 31 of the 150 seats up for grabs, pipping the Labour Party of former Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen by a single seat in the narrowest ever electoral victory.
“The impossible has come true,” a triumphant Mr Wilders said, noting that 1.5 million people had chosen his party’s “optimistic” platform. “More security, less crime, less immigration, less Islam – that is what the Netherlands has chosen.”
His party picked up the bulk of its seats from another party on the right, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s ChristianDemocrats. After eight years in power, his party suffered an historic defeat, losing nearly half its seats. Visibly emotional, Mr Balkenende called the results “very, very disappointing” and announced he was quitting politics.
Dutch Muslim groups all expressed horror and shock at yesterday’s outcome. Farid Azarkan of the Dutch-Moroccan umbrella group SMN said: “Dutch-Moroccans ask themselves if they still form part of Dutch society and whether their neighbours and colleagues really see them as fellow Dutch citizens. Can they and their children still look forward to a safe future in the Netherlands?” (Nope, you better leave. But don’t come to the US) UK INDEPENDENT
Wilders’ awesome campaign commercial