Wilders Isolated, PVV Threatens to Fall Apart
THE HAGUE, 21/03/14 - Geert Wilders appears to have landed up in insurmountable isolation. Nobody still wants to work with him. And his Party for Freedom (PVV) appears to be falling apart.
According to many, Wilders went too far with his call for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands on Wednesday. It is expected that the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) will institute proceedings against him for this statement.
Media that in the past reported quite neutrally on the PVV are now condemning Wilders’ latest antics. And there are calls in parliament for a 'cordon sanitair' against Wilders, similar to the way Belgian politicians ignored the Vlaams Belang for years.
On Wednesday evening, at a results meeting after the local elections, Wilders asked: “Do we want more or less Moroccans?” In response, those present chanted “Less, less, less!” Wilders then answered. “Then we will arrange this.”
Premier Mark Rutte had hitherto been moderate about the statements of Wilders. Although they left a “bad taste” for him, he refused to rule out the PVV for future partnership. “We never rule out any party”.
But partly under pressure from the Christian democrats (CDA), Rutte has gone back on this position. The premier and conservative (VVD) leader said Thursday night that he will ignore Wilders as long as he sticks to his Moroccan statements. “As long as these are the view of the PVV, we will not work in partnership with this party."
The VVD, along with the smallest Christian party SGP, was the only party that did not rule Wilders out. Earlier, the CDA was also among these, but party leader Sybrand Buma said recently he never wanted to work with Wilders again.
Buma had called on Rutte on Thursday evening to follow his example. The CDA leader found it incomprehensible that the premier still seemed to take the PVV seriously.
In the media, RTL Nieuws has made a remarkable move. The commercial counterpart of NOS Journaal, normally speaking averse to voicing opinion, has expressed its abhorrence in an open letter to Wilders.
Meanwhile, nearly 200 individuals and bodies have requested the Public Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute Wilders. It appears unthinkable for the OM not to do so, partly because many lawyers consider Wilders’ statements constitute punishable offences.
Within the PVV, there is unrest, to put it mildly. Two prominent MPs have left the party with immediate effect. Roland van Vliet and Joram van Klaveren say that they cannot defend Wilders’ statements.
Van Vliet did not want to "throw mud” and would therefore not say whether other PVV MPs agreed with him. Shortly afterwards, Van Klaveran also announced he was leaving. In the corridors of parliament, a number of other PVV MPs also expressed themselves as uneasy.
Six PVV MPs had already resigned earlier. Following the departure of Van Vliet and Van Klaveren, the party has 12 seats left. The crucial point for Wilders is whether his voters will stay. Polls are due to be released on Sunday.
In the municipal councils of The Hague and Almere, the leaders of all other parties have called on the PVV members to publicly distance themselves from Wilders. The PVV only ran in these two municipalities in Wednesday’s local elections.
Wilders could largely smooth the matter over with apologies, but he does not appear to be able to do so. The PVV leader would suffer huge loss of face, partly because he has already repeatedly said he will not take one word back. Wilders has however said that he was only referring to criminal Moroccans.