Just before the local elections of Wednesday, at a party rally in Den Haag, Geert Wilders asked his audience whether they wanted more or less Moroccans in town. Unsurprisingly, the crowd shouted “Less! Less!” Answered Wilders: “We’ll arrange that.”
Updated a few hours after original publication with news of the PVV meltdown.
What initially seemed a (for him) pretty standard tactic seems to be blowing up in Wilders’s face,
Wilders’s subtext was clear: kick all Moroccans out of the country — although a day later, when the affair was spinning out of control, he said he only meant criminal Moroccans. Whatever. He intended a classic right-wing populist ploy: shout something that his voters like and the left detests, grab some headlines, grab more headlines when lawyers, politicians, and other opponents announce they’re going to prosecute him, and tell his supporters that he’s being victimised by the Other. It worked before, why wouldn’t it work again? Granted, this call for wholesale expulsion of all Moroccans was nasty even for Wilders, but it’s not fundamentally different from earlier succesful attempts at attention grabbing. One would think. (Or, at least, I thought.)
This affair is hurting Wilders The PVV is in MELTDOWN.
Since the Wednesday local elections, two PVV members of parliament have left the party, taking their seats with them. One freshly elected Den Haag councillor did the same. The two MPs quoted Wilders’s recent remarks, but also the lack of openness within the PVV — of which to this day Geert Wilders remains the sole member and thus dictator. One MP split off a few months ago, which brings the PVV seats down to 12.
Moreover, the VVD excluded the PVV from coalition negotiations in Den Haag and Almere, the only two cities the PVV competed in the local elections. This hurts because the VVD was the only party that hadn’t yet done so. The left-wing parties excluded Wilders ages ago, and recently CDA leader Buma excluded him as well, since the CDA does not want a repeat performance of the disastrous Rutte I VVD+CDA government that Wilders was supposed to support but didn’t in its hour of need.
True, Rutte was careful in his formulation: it’s only about the current local negotiations and only as long as Wilders continues to take reprehensible standpoints concerning Moroccans.
Wilders may yet recover — he’s done some pretty nifty political footwork before. But the affair has the potential to become very serious. It seems people have had enough of Wilders. Now let’s see what the polls say.
Update: Since I wrote the original article, the PVV reportedly has lost the following people:
Also, it seems that Joram van Klaveren, one of the two national MPs to leave the PVV earlier today, has plans to found a new right-wing party and has been talking to the Almere rebels.
This has nothing to do with the reactions of the other parties, newspapers, Moroccans, or society in general. Even his remarks on Moroccans were just the proverbial drop that overflows the bucket.
This is a party revolt.
The PVV voting sheep are tired of their leader. Wilders’s autocracy and total lack of transparency are going to cost him. A lot.
<— Local elections 2014 | More bad news for Wilders —>
This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.
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