Monday, March 02, 2009

Geert Wilders Wilders Now a Celebrity in US and Prime Minister in Poll

THE HAGUE, 03/03/09 - Controversial MP Geert Wilders has reacted with pleasure to a poll according to which his Party for Freedom (PVV) would be the Netherlands' biggest party. "As far as I am concerned elections can be held tomorrow; then I will be the next premier."

The PVV would according to prominent pollster Maurice de Hond win 27 seats in the 150-member Lower House if elections were held now. This is one more than the Christian democrats (CDA). This is the first time the PVV has emerged as the biggest party in a poll.

The PVV has risen in recent weeks thanks to apparent setbacks. First, the Amsterdam appeal court ruled that Wilders must be prosecuted for incitement to hatred and insulting of Muslims as a group. And subsequently, the UK refused him entry to the country.

In the US on the other hand, Wilders was greeted by neo-conservatives - as by a growing portion of the Dutch population - as a martyr for freedom of speech. The contrasts with Europe are great. A conservative philosopher said of his impact in the American media: "He is more than a hero. He is a celebrity".