PVV founder Geert Wilders has no problem with the idea of making his anti-Islam party more democratic but it should not happen too quickly, news agency ANP reports on Tuesday.
‘A legitimate time to have an internal discussion about this would be after the June 9 general elections,’ Wilders told ANP.
‘There is nothing the matter [with democracy]. But it must not happen too quickly. I do not want an LPF situation,’ Wilders said, referring to the collapse of populist party LPF amid bitter infighting.
The PVV leader was responding to PVV MP Hero Brinkman’s televised calls for more democracy.
Speaking on tv show Pauw & Witteman on Monday night, Brinkman said people should vote for him (number 11 on the party’s list of prospective MPs) if they were in favour of a democratic structure for the PVV.
The party has often come under fire for being undemocratic because Geert Wilders is its only official member.
Brinkman, a former policeman, denied being in a power struggle with Wilders, but did not say what Wilders thought of his standpoint. ‘Geert can only appreciate the fact I am using democratic rights. The right to freedom of speech is very important to him,’ Brinkman said.
Brinkman also said he backed the establishment of a PVV party conference to establish policy. ‘We could lose Wilders, he can go and do something else. We are doing well in the polls and so it is right that we offer voters a reason not to switch to another party,’ he said.
According to an interview given by Brinkman to website nu.nl on Tuesday, the MP also plans to campaign separately in the run up to the election.
‘I want people to be able to join a party, to vote at a conference and propose amendments,’ he said. ‘At the moment we cannot test our standpoints on our supporters to find out what they think.’
Brinkman admitted he had deliberately chosen to make his position plain during the election campaign. This means the election candidate lists are now finalised and he can no longer be expelled from the party, nu.nl says.
Wilders did not attack his MP but told ANP it would have been more polite if he had been given advance warning of the comments.
Brinkman was forced to admit he had a drink problem last year after an incident at the parliamentary press bar last year.
Despite being one of nine sitting PVV MPs, he was given 13th place on this year’s election list but moved up two places after other candidates dropped out.