"We are not sovereign any more; we are not even allowed to form our own immigration policy or even close our borders and I would do that," Wilders said Thursday in an interview in the Dutch parliament building in The Hague. "I would wish the Dutch to be more like Switzerland. In the heart of Europe, but not in the European Union."

A household name in the Netherlands since 2004, when he split from the mainstream Liberal party to form his own on an anti-Islam platform, the bouffant-haired blond has enjoyed a swell of support as voters grow increasingly alarmed at the arrival in Europe of more than a million refugees from Syria and elsewhere. The latest poll showed him winning the most parliamentary seats -- as many as Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Liberals won in 2012 -- if elections were held now.


In the event of a so-called Brexit, "you will see that it will be easier for other countries to make the same decision," Wilders said. "The beginning of the end of the European Union has already started. And it can be an enormous incentive for other countries if the United Kingdom would leave."


While Spain made headlines in December for having four major parties competing in elections for the first time, the Netherlands saw 11 groups gaining parliamentary seats in the last election. That makes coalition-building difficult and stable governments increasingly rare. Early elections have been called four times in 10 years. If the current Liberal-Labor cabinet completes its full term, it would be the first to do so for nearly two decades.


Support for the Freedom Party has risen to the equivalent of 41 seats in the 150-member Dutch parliament, up from 15 in the 2012 elections. The Liberals have sent mixed messages on cooperating with Wilders, while the Christian Democrats have ruled it out in the past. The two parties are battling for second place in the polls.

Comments: Be the first to add a comment

add a comment | go to forum thread