THE HAGUE: The political party of Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, which is leading polls ahead of parliamentary elections next year, has vowed to close mosques and “ban the Quran” in its manifesto.
“All mosques and Islamic schools closed, a ban on the Quran,” said the document outlining the electoral program of the Freedom Party (PVV) ahead of March 2017 legislative elections, which was posted on Wilders’ Twitter feed Thursday. The PVV says it will reverse the “Islamisation” of the country with a range of measures including closing the borders, shutting asylum seeker centres, banning migrants from Islamic countries and stopping Muslim women from wearing the headscarf in public.
On the back of Europe’s migrant crisis, opinion polls have for months given Wilders’ PVV the edge over the current coalition parties of the Labour Party and the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Late last year polls predicted soaring support for the PVV saying it could gain as many as 38 seats in the 150-seat parliament. But that has slipped back. In August, a poll from Ipsos gave it 28 seats — still way up on the 12 it currently has. The immigrant crisis has polarised the Netherlands, a nation of 17 million people, leading to heated debate and some attacks on refugee centres.
Wilders, who will go on trial for inciting racial hatred in October, also said he would do all he could to hold a referendum on the Netherlands leaving the EU, despite an unsuccessful first attempt in June following Britain’s shock Brexit vote. His party has also pledged to cut all foreign aid while boosting funding for police and security.