The battle for parliament in The Netherlands is underway right now, and the question is, will Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party shock the world with another win for an immigration-skeptic, pro-West, nationalist party win? Only the Dutch voters can decide. Even if Wilders’ party does win the election, The Wall Street Journal’s Valentina Pop says it will be difficult for him to rule because all other major parties have vowed not to form a coalition with the Freedom Party. She writes:
Can ‘Dutch Trump’ Become Prime Minister?
Unlikely. Even if his group comes in first and has the right to form a coalition, all major parties have promised not to team up with the party, which wants to ban the Quran, close all mosques in the country and pull the Netherlands out from the European Union.
What Does the Vote Mean for Europe and the U.S.?
Mr. Wilders, who last year saw a popularity boost following the U.K. referendum to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump, is seen as an indicator for how other populist, anti-EU, anti-immigration candidates will fare in key elections in France, Germany and possibly Italy. Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, as well as Frauke Petry, the leader of Germany’s upstart anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party, all met with Mr. Wilders earlier this year in Koblenz, where they described President Trump as an inspiration. But the Trump effect has backfired on Mr. Wilders, who started distancing himself from the U.S. president, and opinion polls suggest his support has fallen away.
What Impact Will the Election Have on Dutch Policies?
Expect tougher immigration rules and fewer benefits for refugees in the country. As extreme as Mr. Wilders may be, he does seem to have hit a nerve among the Dutch population, a portion of which has grown increasingly weary of Muslim immigrants. The popularity boost Mr. Rutte received after he toughened his stance on Muslims and after Dutch authorities deported a Turkish minister and cracked down on an unauthorized Turkish rally in Rotterdam suggests that if he is re-elected, he will continue with policies in the same vein.
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