Searchlight - July 2009
The right wing populist Freedom Party (PVV) made its first major breakthrough in June's European Parliament (EP) elections.
Though party leader and sole member Geert Wilders, with 334.846 preference votes, will not take his seat in Brussels, his PVV is now poised to crash its way into the Dutch national parliament.
Essentially, Wilders used the EP elections as a test run to measure his support in the Dutch electorate, calling on voters to desert the current coalition government of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats (PvdA) and Christians and to demand that the Dutch be put first in European policy considerations and that Turkey will never be allowed to join the EU.
The result was that, quite simply, the PVV won the elections. With the lowest turnout ever, the PVV succeeded in attracting 17% of the vote – and gaining four of the Netherlands' twenty-five seats – in an election in which, historically, protest voters voice their protest by staying at home. When Ireland signs the Lisbon Treaty, the Dutch will have 26 seats in the EP, the extra one will go to the PVV as well.
Wilders' call, made after the EP results were declared, for the Dutch government to stand down immediately and never return went, of course, unanswered.
Wilders wants an early general election because, currently, the PVV is heading the opinion polls. And, the outlook for next years local elections is not looking bad either: in the EP elections, the Wilders mob emerged strongest in major cities as Rotterdam and The Hague, the first normally a secure stronghold of the Social Democrats (PvdA).
In 2011, the next parliamentary elections will be held and the contours of a Christian Democrat, right-wing Liberal and Freedom Party coalition government are already becoming faintly visible.
In the European Parliament, however, the PVV will remain independent and join any parliamentary group. Though this means it will get less funding, less speaking time, less access to committees and command less influence, the PVV's confrontational media strategy will make sure they grab headlines.
As to the PVV's electorate, it is a win-win situation: if its demands are successful it will be because of the strength of the party and the "justice" of its ideas; if it fails, it will be because the European Union "monster", the "pro-Turkey lobby" and the hated 'left church' that prevented the realisation of its selfish dreams.
Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net