Two European politicians who share much in common with the racist, nationalist ideology of President Pussygrabber, most notably militant Islamophobia and an urge to cap immigration.
A wild-haired Dutchman holds the lead
Here’s how BBC News lead their 18 February story on the opening of Geert Wilders’s campaign for prime minister’s post in the Netherlands:
Dutch populist leader Geert Wilders has launched his election campaign by calling some Moroccans “scum”.
Mr Wilders tops opinion polls ahead of the 15 March parliamentary vote, but has seen his lead reduced in recent weeks.
He has vowed to ban Muslim immigration and shut mosques if he wins.
His latest comments come two months after he was convicted in a hate speech trial over his promise to reduce the number of Moroccans in the country.
Mr Wilders addressed his supporters on Saturday amid tight security in his party’s stronghold of Spijkenisse, an ethnically diverse area near Rotterdam.
Polls have him in the lead
The Netherlands is holding the first of three major elections in Europe this year that will determine whether the populist surge that delivered the Brexit vote in the U.K. and helped Donald Trump into the White house will spread into the European Union’s core.
While some polls have suggested Wilders’s Freedom Party may be losing support, a regular survey published by Peil.nl on Sunday gave him a four-seat lead over Rutte’s Liberals for the second straight week. That raises the prospect of an anti-Islam party that wants to halt immigration and re-establish borders placing first in one of the EU’s six founding members, just as voters in another – France – make the anti-euro National Front favorite to go through to May’s presidential election runoff.
Almost all the established Dutch parties, including the Liberals and Labor, have excluded governing with Wilders, but that doesn’t stop them chasing his votes. Immigration to the Netherlands featured in a televised debate among party leaders on Sunday evening, with Labor and the opposition Christian Democrats both arguing for a halt to new arrivals.
So who is Geert Wilders?
The New York Times offers some background:
He wants to end immigration from Muslim countries, tax head scarves and ban the Quran. He is partly of Indonesian heritage, and dyes his hair bright blond. He is omnipresent on social media but lives as a political phantom under police protection, rarely campaigning in person and reportedly sleeping in a different location every night.
He has structured his party so that he is the only official, giving him the liberty to remain, above all things, in complete control, and a provocateur and an uncompromising verbal bomb thrower.
Geert Wilders, far-right icon, is one of Europe’s unusual politicians, not least because he comes from the Netherlands, one of Europe’s most socially liberal countries, with a centuries-long tradition of promoting religious tolerance and welcoming immigrants.
How he and his party fare in the March 15 elections could well signal how the far right will do in pivotal elections in France, Germany and possibly Italy later this year, and ultimately determine the future of the European Union. Mr. Wilders (pronounced VIL-ders) has promised to demand a “Nexit” referendum on whether the Netherlands should follow Britain’s example and leave the union.
“The Netherlands is kind of a bellwether, a lot of trends manifest themselves here first,” said Hans Anker, a Dutch political strategist who has worked both in the Netherlands and the United States.
“I wouldn’t rule out that Wilders could be prime minister,” he added. “This one is fundamentally unpredictable.”