Rutte Cautions Against Populist “Experiment” in Netherlands

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte arrives for a meeting with other European leaders in Brussels, February 12, 2015
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte arrives for a meeting with other European leaders in Brussels, February 12, 2015 (European Council)

Two days before parliamentary elections, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has reiterated his opposition to a pact with the nationalist Freedom Party, telling Geert Wilders in person that the two will “never” work together again.

Earlier on Monday, Rutte urged voters not to let the Netherlands become the “third domino” that falls to populism after Britain voted to leave the European Union and America elected Donald Trump.

“This is not the time to experiment,” he told reporters in Rotterdam. Read more

Geert Wilders Isn’t Really Interested in Governing

French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders deliver a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015
French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders deliver a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015 (European Parliament)

The absence of a serious manifesto did not suggest that the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders had any intention of governing after the election on Wednesday. Now two former elected officials of his Freedom Party have confirmed that he isn’t interested in power — especially the responsibility that comes with it. Read more

Invisible and Unhinged, Wilders Loses Support in Netherlands

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders listens during a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders listens during a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015 (European Parliament)

Geert Wilders’ strategy of not showing up isn’t doing his Freedom Party much good.

Support for the party, which wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union and stop immigration from Muslim countries, has gone down in the polls from a 21-percent high in December to 16 percent today. Read more

Dutch Freedom Party Leader Cancels Second Election Debate

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015 (RTV Oost/Rogier van den Berg)

Are all populists so thin-skinned?

The Dutch Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, canceled his participation in an election debate organized by RTL in two weeks’ time after its news division published an interview with the politician’s older brother on Sunday.

The Freedom Party leader called the interview “incredibly vile,” but his brother hasn’t exactly shied away from the media. He even contributed to a left-wing opinion website for a while. Read more

Wilders’ Negativity an Opportunity for Optimist Rutte

Dutch liberal party leader Mark Rutte arrives at the prime minister's office in The Hague, October 14, 2010
Dutch liberal party leader Mark Rutte arrives at the prime minister’s office in The Hague, October 14, 2010 (Rijksoverheid)

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders may have just dictated the terms on which the Dutch election next year will be fought — and under which his rival, the incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte, is more likely to be prevail.

I wrote earlier this year that echoes of America’s presidential election could be heard in the Netherlands: Wilders shares an under-siege rhetoric and unceremonious style of politics with Donald Trump; Rutte, like Hillary Clinton, celebrates the country the Netherlands is, rather than it used to be, and represents consensus and a respect for political norms.

Those differences were driven home last week, when Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination by a panel of three judges for promising “fewer Moroccans” in the city of The Hague. Read more

Netherlands’ Wilders Attacks Court After Discrimination Verdict

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders listens to a court proceeding in Amsterdam, June 23, 2011
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders listens to a court proceeding in Amsterdam, June 23, 2011 (Reuters/Robin Utrecht)

Dutch nationalist party leader Geert Wilders has attacked the judges who found him guilty of inciting discrimination on Friday and vowed to appeal the verdict.

The controversial right-wing politician dismissed the panel of judges as “Freedom Party haters” who convicted “half the Netherlands” along with him.

He previously called the proceedings a show trial and said he would not tone down his rhetoric whatever the outcome. Read more

Trump’s European Admirers Are Deluding Themselves

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential election in the United States has delighted his ideological counterparts in Europe. Brexiteers in the United Kingdom think he will give them a better deal than Hillary Clinton. Populists in France and the Netherlands responded to Trump’s victory with glee. So did ultraconservatives in Central Europe.

They should think again. Trump may be a kindred spirit and his triumph is a setback for the liberal consensus that nationalists across Europe and North America agitate against. But he is no friend of European nations. Read more