Of all the American exports, the least welcome one is a Donald Trump clone. But that's exactly what people think of Geert Wilders, the far-right leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands.
Wilders champions populism. The Dutch leader wants to outlaw Islam and in the hopes of becoming the next prime minister of Netherlands, he ran an anti-Islamic campaign ahead of the March 15 general election.
Wilders is also referred to as the Dutch Trump. Here is why.
Wilders is dubbed as Donald Trump of the Netherlands because of his anti-Muslim stance. Both the leaders also have another stance in consensus, and that is of being anti-immigrant.
Back in 2015, he made many headlines with his controversial views about Islam. “All the values Europe stands for — freedom, democracy, human rights — are incompatible with Islam,” he said.
“We will have to de-Islamize our societies,” he wrote in a piece for Breitbart, calling for an end to immigration from Muslim countries, and “preventative detention” as well as “denaturalization and expelling of citizens with dual nationality.”
Much of what he said was echoed in Trump's xenophobic travel ban.
He Is Anti-Immigrant
He once called Moroccans "scums," claiming that if the people of the Netherlands want to regain their country they will have to own it, removing migrants. His discriminating comments sparked an outrage among Moroccans living in Netherlands and he was charged with hate speech.
After Trump called for a ban on all immigrants, Wilders lauded him in the parliament. “It’s kind of refreshing you know...a politician in America, the head of state, President Trump, who says not only in a campaign that he wants to toughen up the immigration policy. But he actually does what he promised and he stops the immigration,” he said in an interview.
Champion of Anti-Islam Populism
Despite his anti-Islam populist views, there were reports of the leader gaining popularity. According to a poll, Wilders’ party was projected to increase from an expected 27 to 36 seats amid his hate speeches.
However, a recent poll from I&O Research showed Wilders’ party with an expected 16 seats in the 150-member lower house of parliament. There was a drop of four seats from a survey released just a day before.
Even if PVV gets more votes, many political parties have decided to not form a coalition with the Islamophobe in the parliament.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Heinz-Peter Bader