A former soldier with Hungarian roots and little political experience will lead the PVV local election campaign in Rotterdam next year.
Géza Hegedüs (54) was presented to the press by party leader Geert Wilders in front of the Essalam mosque in the Feijenoord district on Friday morning.
Hegedüs, described as a Rotterdammer born and bred, dismissed the offer of coffee and cake from the local imam. ‘It was kindly meant but we don’t need to drink coffee,’ he told the Volkskrant. ‘All the mosques have to go. This is the Netherlands, not Saudi Arabia or North Africa.’
The presentation of PVV’s Rotterdam plans was partially hijacked by the pro multiculture party Denk, whose leadership popped up in front of the same mosque to announce they too would be contesting the Rotterdam election.
‘Every time Wilders spreads his words that bring polarisation, fear and hatred, I will be standing opposite him, to counteract him democratically,’ party leader Tunahan Kuzu said. ‘Of course we chose this moment deliberately. Geert Wilders is sowing division in Rotterdam with his xenophobic statements.’
The NRC said the decision by both the PVV and Denk to contest the Rotterdam local vote is part of a trend.
‘New national parties are springing up in protest at the traditional parties and they all now want to move into local politics as well,’ the paper said. ‘That means in Rotterdam Leefbaar (13 councillors) and Islam-inspired local party Nida (three councilors) face serious competition.’
At the last general election, 15.6% of Rotterdammers voted for the PVV and 7.9% voted for Denk. Leefbaar Rotterdam, as a local party, did not take part.
Rotterdam has been ruled by a coalition of Leefbaar, D66 and the CDA since the last local elections in 2014 but the alliance has since lost its majority on the city council.
Wilders geflankeerd door de lijsttrekker van de PVV in Rotterdam rechts en nummer 2 links van hem. En op de achtergrond staat Kuzu met zijn aanhangers… pic.twitter.com/s1ctfa5lXi
— robert bas (@robertpbas) December 14, 2017