The far-right leader's Freedom Party is already leading with 17% in the polls.
By Lara RebelloFebruary 18, 2017The Netherlands is witnessing a rise in far-right populists gearing to take part in the country's elections. Of these contenders, Geert Wilders is already in the lead with his anti-Muslim stand and promise to remove the Netherlands from the European Union.
The Freedom Party (PVV) leader will launch his election campaign today, 18 February in which he promises to "de-Islamise" the nation by banning Muslim immigration, shutting down all mosques and banning the sale of the Quran in bookstores. According to the Central Bureau for Statistics, around 5% of the Dutch adult population is Muslim.
While lawyers have pointed out that these plans could be in violation of the constitution, Wilders hinted to AP that there was room for change.
"A constitution is not something that is (set) in stone and can never be changed," he told AP. "It's alive as a society is alive and we are now being threatened by mass immigration and Islamisization and what I see as the toxic combination of mass immigration from Islamic countries and at the same time a total lack of demanding for people to assimilate and to integrate."
The launch of his campaign is expected to be a heavily guarded event, considering the multiple threats made on his life for his anti-Islam stand.
"I want us in government," Wilders told the press earlier this week, as he explained his policies, which have found commonality with Donald Trump's own. He also celebrated the US president's election win back in November, calling it a "historic victory" and a "revolution" in which "the people are taking their country back".
Despite criticism of Wilder's far-right views, the Freedom Party is leading in polls with 17%, followed closely by Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy.