With all the far-right splinter parties competing for scarce seats in next month’s general election, it is hardly surprising that they have now all started biting each other. Voters meanwhile must be scratching their heads over the plethora of parties: ÉénNL, Freedom Party, Fortuyn, PvNL, all of which are hoping to benefit from the anti-Islam vote.
So how do you stand out from the rest? The Freedom Party’s Geert Wilders set out his stall very clearly in this weekend’s Volkskrant: he fears a ‘tsunami of Islamisation’ and doesn’t want any more mosques to be built (‘they drive me mad, all those mosques’). Furthermore, there was, he said, a direct correlation between Islam and criminal youth. The outburst was even too extreme for Marco Pastors of ÉénNL (OneNL), who said Wilders was now ‘desperate’. Pastors, former stable-mate of Pim Fortuyn, told the Volkskrant that Wilders is a ‘dangerous man’.
Opinion polls put support for the anti-immigration parties at around six or seven seats in the 150-seat parliament – which is not a lot to divide up. With just over six weeks to the election, the in-fighting and political posturing is set to get worse. But comparing the influence of Islam in the Netherlands with a tsunami is about as low as you can sink, considering most of those who died or where made homeless by last year’s disaster were Muslim.