If the reaction to the verdict finding Netherlands politician Geert Wilders guilty of discrimination is any indication, Wilders stands an excellent chance of becoming the nation’s next Prime Minister.
Only hours after the verdict was delivered, a poll found 53% percent of the country opposed the ruling. That support for Wilders was apparent even before the verdict; Wilders’ Party for Freedom, (PVV), was leading in the polls in a poll during the trial:
10 parties are currently in the Dutch parliament, and with PPV looking as though it could hold roughly 35 votes, the party could be in charge after next April’s elections.
The Dutch public expects Wilders to win; after the verdict, more than two-thirds of poll voters surveyed by Dutch pollster Maurice de Hond said they thought PPV would win more seats as a result of the trial.
Dutch pollster Peter Kanne told The New York Times, “A lot of people mentioned that they’re really getting angry that he is being accused and judged only for what he said."
Wilders makes no bones about his opinions:
Wilders released a manifesto back in August delineating the changes he wants to make. It reads, in part:
This is what the PVV will do:
1) de-Islamize the Netherlands
- Zero asylum seekers and no more immigrants from Muslim countries: we are closing our borders.
- Withdrawal of all residence permits already granted to asylum seekers; asylum seeker centers closed down.
- No more Muslim veils in public functions
- Ban of overall Muslim expressions that are against the public order
- Preventive incarceration of radical Muslims
- Criminals with double nationality stripped of their Dutch citizenship and deported
- Syrian fighters not allowed back in The Netherlands
- All Mosques and Muslim schools are to be closed and the Koran banned.
2) The Netherlands will reclaim its independence. Therefore, we leave the EU.
3) Direct democracy: binding referendums, citizens have the power.
4) Deductible/excess in healthcare insurance is eliminated
5) Rents to be lowered
6) Age of retirement back to 65 years old. Pensions for everyone.
7) No more money for foreign aid, windmills, art, innovation, public broadcasters, etc.
8) Past budget cuts involving care will be reversed.
9) Plenty extra funds for defense and police
10) Lower income taxes
11) 50% reduction for vehicle ownership taxes