Dutch Liberalism And The Freedom Party

Today Dutch lawmakers are expected to approve a coalition that will give Geert Wilders's Freedom Party a share in government for the first time since he founded it in 2005 to push measures such as restricting Muslim immigration and taxing headscarves. The new coalition will be led by the more-right-than-center People's Party, or VVD, and will also include the more-center-than-right Christian Democrats. The VVD displaced the Christian Democrats as the largest party in the Parliament after the June election, but lacked the votes to form a coalition without support from either Mr. Wilders's party or from parties on the left. Aligning with the Freedom Party will allow the VVD to pursue some of its proposed economic reforms, although the Freedom Party has its own streak of economic populism.The prevailing narrative in Europe, though, is that something much more sinister is happening in Holland. Wilfried Martens, the head of Europe's center-right umbrella group, the European People's Party (EPP), on Sunday declared that "I deplore this political evolution." He added that "It is the duty of the major political families in Europe to reflect on this unfortunate reality and to combat it jointly."