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World News

Geert Wilders: Who is controversial anti-Islam election winner – and will he become Dutch PM? | World News

today23/11/2023

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The man often called the Netherlands’ answer to Donald Trump appears to have won the Dutch election – but who is the inflammatory political outsider and what does he want?

Geert Wilders has lived under police protection for years due to numerous death threats sparked by his strong anti-Islamic views – a religion he says is “backward”.

He has moved from one safe house to another for nearly two decades but has refused to be silenced.

When he voted this week in The Hague, Mr Wilders was – as usual – flanked by security guards who scanned the room for any threats.

A former Pakistani cricketer was earlier this year accused of offering a €21,000 reward to anybody who killed the politician.

The UK government tried to ban Mr Wilders in 2009 and said his visit to screen an anti-Islam film would be a danger to “community harmony” and “public security”.

The 60-year-old – known for his distinctive blond swept-back hair – has long said he wants to “de-Islamise” the Netherlands.

He’s compared the Koran to Mein Kampf, Hitler’s infamous manifesto, and has said he wants to ban mosques and Islamic schools.

Mr Wilders has promised not to break Dutch laws protecting freedom of religion and expression – but that might seem extremely difficult given his views.

The Netherlands has a substantial Islamic population because of its colonial past in Indonesia. However, Mr Wilders has previously said Muslims should only be allowed to stay if they reject Sharia law.

In 2016, he was convicted of inciting discrimination for leading supporters in a chant that they wanted “fewer! fewer! fewer!” Moroccans.

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March 2017: Wilders tells Sky his views on Trump, Brexit, the EU and Muslims

Mr Wilders also wants to ban refugees and retract any apologies for slavery.

“We will have to find ways to live up to the hopes of our voters, to put the Dutch back as number one,” he said as his election success became clear on Wednesday.

He said “the Netherlands will be returned to the Dutch, the asylum tsunami and migration will be curbed”.

‘Nexit’ is on his agenda too: He supports a vote on leaving the EU and wants to ban people from holding dual nationality.

Interestingly, his wife Krisztina – whom he thanked during his victory speech – was born in Hungary.

Geert Wilders attends the Schiphol Judicial Complex
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On the fringes for decades, he now has substantial power

He’s also an outlier in that he wants to stop military aid to Ukraine, arguing the country needs to keep its own weapons.

Traditionally regarded as a beacon of tolerance, the Netherlands has finally voted for Mr Wilders in big numbers – but it’s taken some time.

To increase support, he dialled back his anti-Islam rhetoric and focused more on issues such as housing shortages, the cost of living and access to healthcare.

A political veteran, he was first elected in 1998 and later this year will become the country’s longest-serving MP.

He mentored current prime minister Mark Rutte in the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, but in 2004 established what would become the Party for Freedom.

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Mr Wilders celebrated with colleagues after news of his success came in

Mr Wilders’ party is now set to secure 35 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament, a remarkable turnaround for a man on the fringes for decades.

He could now, in theory, become prime minister, but in reality he’s probably still too toxic.

Long and complicated negotiations are likely to see who will actually run the country – but whatever happens he can no longer be ignored as an isolated extremist.

Away from his inflammatory views, his cats Snoetje and Pluisje have their own accounts on X, and he told a kids’ show this week that he likes playing Mario Kart and reading Donald Duck comics.



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Written by: lwrradio

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