Geert Wilders Isn’t Really Interested in Governing

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
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)

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 “Geert Wilders Isn’t Really Interested in Governing”

Netherlands’ Wilders Bleeds Support to Christian Democrats, Socialists

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Geert Wilders
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015 (RTV Oost/Rogier van den Berg)

I reported here the other day that Geert Wilders’ nationalist Freedom Party is losing support in the Netherlands.

Now we know where his voters are going.

The national broadcaster NOS reports that the nationalists are bleeding support to the Christian Democrats on the one hand and the far-left Socialists on the other.

That might seem odd, given that those parties are opposites in many ways.

But it makes sense when we look at these movements through the prism of the Netherlands’ “blue-red” culture war. Read more “Netherlands’ Wilders Bleeds Support to Christian Democrats, Socialists”

Invisible and Unhinged, Wilders Loses Support in Netherlands

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Geert Wilders
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders speaks at 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.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberals are on track to surpass the Freedom Party as the single largest. In some surveys, they already have.

Even if the Freedom Party does place first, it is unlikely to join a coalition government. All other major parties have ruled out an accord. Read more “Invisible and Unhinged, Wilders Loses Support in Netherlands”

Dutch Freedom Party Leader Cancels Second Election Debate

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
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 “Dutch Freedom Party Leader Cancels Second Election Debate”

Dutch Parties Tried to Co-opt Populists and Failed

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Geert Wilders
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders speaks at a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015 (European Parliament)

The reason even right-wing parties in the Netherlands have ruled out forming a government with the nativist Freedom Party after the election next month is that they tried to make it work before — and failed.

Polls suggest the anti-EU and anti-immigrant party led by Geert Wilders could become the single largest with around 20 percent support. But it’s unlikely to come to power.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose liberal party is polling in second place, has said there is “zero” chance he will do another deal with Wilders after the Freedom Party leader walked out the last time they worked together.

There may be a lesson here for Republicans in the United States, who think they can co-opt Donald Trump, and Conservatives in Britain, who think they might harness the nationalist passions unleashed by Brexit. The Dutch experience suggests attempts to co-opt populism are unlikely to last and can easily backfire. Read more “Dutch Parties Tried to Co-opt Populists and Failed”

Nativist Freedom Party Draws Support from Dutch Periphery

News

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Evening falls in Maastricht, the Netherlands, January 5, 2009
Evening falls in Maastricht, the Netherlands, January 5, 2009 (Bert Kaufmann)

Support for the nationalist Freedom Party rises the farther away one travels from the commercial and political heartland of the Netherlands on the North Sea coast, a recent survey shows.

The anti-EU and anti-immigrant party led by Geert Wilders receives around 20 percent support nationwide, but there are regional differences. Read more “Nativist Freedom Party Draws Support from Dutch Periphery”

Wilders’ Negativity an Opportunity for Optimist Rutte

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Mark Rutte
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte joins a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20 (European Parliament)

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 “Wilders’ Negativity an Opportunity for Optimist Rutte”

Netherlands’ Wilders Attacks Court After Discrimination Verdict

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
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 “Netherlands’ Wilders Attacks Court After Discrimination Verdict”

Echoes of Clinton-Trump Contest in the Netherlands

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte answers questions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 5
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte answers questions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 5 (European Parliament)

Tom-Jan Meeus has a good piece in Politico about the state of Dutch politics five months out from the next election.

Meeus, who is a political columnist and former United States correspondent for NRC Handelsblad, argues that there is a American influence on this election: Should Donald Trump win in November, Meeus expects his Dutch counterpart, Geert Wilders, will shift further to the right. Mark Rutte, the incumbent center-right prime minister, could benefit if Hillary Clinton prevails.

This probably oversells the effect of America’s elections on the Netherlands’, but Meeuw is onto something. Read more “Echoes of Clinton-Trump Contest in the Netherlands”

Immigration, Ukraine Treaty Boost Dutch Nationalists

Analysis

Nick OttensNick Ottensis the founder and editor of the Atlantic Sentinel.
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders speaks at a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders speaks at a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015 (European Parliament)

The nationalist Freedom Party has overtaken both ruling parties in the Netherlands as public opinion appears to be turning decidedly against both immigration and a European Union treaty with Ukraine that will be put to voters in April.

An average of polls compiled by the national broadcaster NOS shows the Freedom Party leading with 36 out of 150 seats in parliament.

While the party, led by Geert Wilders, has often polled high between elections, it has never been this popular.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberals would come in second with 23 seats, down from forty.

Labor, the junior party in Rutte’s coalition, would suffer an historic blow and lose 24 of its 36 seats, being overtaken — for the first time — by the far-left Socialists. Read more “Immigration, Ukraine Treaty Boost Dutch Nationalists”