Anti-Polish site boosts Wilders’ popularity

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Despite widespread condemnation of Geert Wilders’ recently-launched website urging the public to file complaints against immigrant workers from Eastern Europe, his Freedom Party (PVV) has regained its popularity amidst all the commotion, according to a leading Dutch opinion poll.

The PVV would win 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today , the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

A week ago, the PVV stood at 20 seats, but following the enormous response to the site – which has angered Central and Eastern European governments – the party gained four seats in one week. More than 40,000 people have responded since its launch on 8 February.

The homepage displays news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.

Lay off the Queen
Dutch daily de Volkskrant observes that, conversely, Wilders lost popularity in the polls when he criticised Queen Beatrix for wearing a headscarf while visiting a mosque in Oman earlier this year. The Queen was on an official visit to the Arab state, accompanied by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima.

Criticism levelled by the PVV – which props up the minority coalition government in parliament - during a debate sparked a national row. The PVV said it regarded the headscarf as a symbol of female oppression.

Queen Beatrix dismissed the remarks as “utter nonsense”.

In the weeks immediately after the headscarf row, the PVV lost out in popularity to the Socialist Party.

“Don’t touch the Queen, but lash out at Europe as mean as you like. That seems to be the lesson for Geert Wilders from the last few weeks,” comments de Volkskrant.
 

(jn/imm/jric)

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