BRUSSELS – “The de-Islamification of the Netherlands” is the first clause in the Party for Freedom (PVV)’s manifesto. A single page, posted on Facebook by party leader Geert Wilders prior to the most important parliamentary elections in the country, this coming March. This will be the first election in a Western European country after the large wave of migrants and the series of terror attacks by Muslim extremists – and the first true indication of the strengthening of the extreme right on the continent.
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Wilders’ platform goes further than ever when it comes to restrictions on Muslims. The reaction of several anonymous parliamentarians from the PVV, who told RTL News that they received the document by email about an hour before its publication, without being consulted, was “the platform is too extreme.”
The “Wilders Plan,” as it’s dubbed in the Dutch media, includes a series of drastic steps, including a total ban on opening new mosques, closing existing ones, closing Muslim schools, confiscating the Koran, preventive administrative detention for anyone suspected of “extremist Muslim” activity, a ban on headscarves for Muslim women in public and against “Islamic declarations that are liable to undermine the public order, a hermetic sealing of the country’s borders to all asylum-seekers from Muslim countries, and closing all the asylum and processing centers for migrants. At the same time, the granting of residence permits and temporary residency will be discontinued completely for a certain period of time, until the issue is reexamined.
Wilders also promises in his platform that he will prevent the return to the Netherlands of anyone who went to Syria to fight in the civil war there – and every criminal with dual citizenship will be deported to the country from which he arrived.
Leaders of the PVV promise that these steps will also bring an economic bonus, and will save the state coffers 7.2 billion euros, but they don’t explain how they reached that sum. In the previous election campaign in 2012, Wilders asked “only” to prevent the opening of new mosques and to limit the number of those receiving asylum in the Netherlands to 1,000 a year.
The rest of the platform says nothing new in its recommendations to leave the European Union, transfer large budgets to the police and the army, cancel the budget cuts for care for the elderly, and restore the retirement age to 65. Referring to the platform during an interview with the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, Wilders said: “This is the plan, and there won’t be anything else. I’m very proud of it. The Party for Freedom will fight Islam. My message to the Dutch people is: Holland must again be ours.”
A survey conducted in Holland by the De Hond Institute a few weeks ago indicated that 56 percent of voters support the PVV becoming a full member of the government if the party has the largest number of MPs, but at the same time a majority of 53 percent doesn’t want Wilders himself to be prime minister. In the last election the party won 15 seats out of 150, a decline from the 24 seats it had earlier, making it the third largest party. In advance of the coming election various surveys in the past six months predict 33 to 37 seats in parliament – more than any other party.