Dutch anti-Islam party set to double in election
THE HAGUE, The Netherlandsâ€””The sluice gates are wide open,” Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders says in a campaign video that shows planes landing in Holland as women in headscarves outnumber natives in shopping street scenes.
“Every day we are confronted with massÂ immigration: headscarves, burqas, minarets, social security dependence, crime … it never ends,” Wilders laments as dramatic music plays in the background of the clip released ahead of June 9 parliamentary elections.
“Whole neighborhoods are being Islamized.”
Pollsters expect Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), to double its strength from nine to 18 MPs in the 150 seat parliament on a ticket of halting the “Islamic invasion”â€”enough to make it a potential ruling coalition candidate.
“Wilders exerts a big influence on these elections,” political analyst Martin Rosema of Twente University told AFP.
Wilders’ bold move onto the shaky ground of multi-cultural tolerance, for long a matter of Dutch pride, “has prompted other parties to adopt a stricter approach to security and the integration of Muslims,” said Rosema.
Many parties’ manifestos now propose an immigration cut, mainly for the low skilled, and harsher treatment of foreign criminals.
Wilders’ PVV came first in Almere and second in The Hague in local elections in Marchâ€”the only cities it contested in its first-ever municipal campaign.
But the PVV finds itself in opposition in both cities as other parties formed coalitions to exclude it, a situation observers expect to be repeated on the national stage.
Wilders, who calls his political enemies “multi-cultural cuddlers,” claims that 40 percent of social security payments go to non-Western immigrants and that people of Moroccan origin were crime suspects five times as often as indigenous Dutch.
“What the Netherlands needs is a stop to immigration for people from Muslim countries,” says theÂ politicianwho has called for a “head rag tax” on headscarves.
Twenty percent of the Netherlands’ 16.5 million-strong population is of immigrant origin.
“There is a significant group of voters for whom immigration is the most important issue,” said political science professor Philip van Praag of the University of Amsterdam.
“They believe that people of Turkish and Moroccan background and Islamic belief are damaging Dutch society. They regard them as a threat, especially in the form of criminality perceived to be committed by immigrant youths.”
Continue reading Netherlands Elections: Anti-Islam parties expected to gain in Dutch vote