Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Does Geert Wilders Want?

Radio Netherlands published his manifesto on their website:
Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) is now a serious partner in exploratory coalition talks with the pro-business liberal VVD. As the populist party's policies are often radical, very few people would have believed until recently that this could happen.

However, the PVV went from 9 to 24 seats in the recent parliamentary elections, making it the big winner of the poll. The other big winner was the VVD, which with 31 MPs became the biggest party in parliament - giving it the initiative to form a government.

The most controversial points from the PVV election programme are listed below:

1. Law and order
Law and order is one of the main points in the party’s programme. According to the PVV, Dutch streets are being terrorised by scum, whole neighbourhoods are being taken over by criminals and ‘street terrorists’ are calling the shots. Most of these criminal elements are identified by the PVV as either Moroccans or Antilleans.
The ‘answer’:
* Ten thousand extra police officers.
* The ethnic registration of all Dutch citizens, which would include the label ‘Antillean’. Antilleans come from Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, which both form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and their citizens are therefore issued Dutch passports).
* The deportation of Antillean criminals.
* Stripping criminals holding dual nationality of their Dutch nationality.
* High minimum sentences and severe maximum sentences; scrapping community service as a sentence.

2. Fighting Islam and mass migration
This is arguably the main point in the PVV programme, it claims the most pages in the election programme. The party argues that Islam is a totalitarian creed, geared towards dominance, violence and oppression. There is no such thing as moderate Islam, according to Geert Wilders. His party has come up with the following solutions to fight the ‘ Islamisation’ of the Netherlands:
* A full immigration ban for people from Islamic countries.
* No new mosques and the closure of all Islamic schools; a ban on burqas and the Qur’an.
* A ban on headscarves in health care, education, government institutions and subsidised organisations; and a tax on wearing headscarves (described by Mr Wilders as a 'head rag tax')
* European Union: the Netherlands should leave the EU if Turkey joins.
* Foreigners: either find a job or get out.

3. Dutch interests paramount in foreign policy
The Freedom Party writes that Dutch interests and the fight against Islam should be the key principle in Dutch foreign policy. Israel plays an important role in this fight. According to the party programme: “Israel is fighting for us. If Jerusalem falls, Athens and Rome are next. This is why Israel is the central front in the defence of the West. It is not a territorial conflict, but an ideological one; a conflict between the reason of the West and the barbarism of Islamic ideology.” the PVV has come up with the following ideas to improve Dutch foreign policy:
* Limiting development aid to emergency aid.
* Scrapping the passage on 'maintaining the international rule of law’ from the Dutch constitution.
* Reviewing Dutch participation in international treaties.
* The Dutch government referring to Jordan as 'Palestine' in future, because it has existed as an independent Palestinian state since 1946.
* Relocating the Dutch embassy from Ramat Gan to the Israeli capital: Jerusalem.

10 more main points
The Freedom Party programme has ten more main points, such as democratisation, which – mysteriously – includes a measure barring people holding dual nationally from holding government office or being elected to parliament or local councils. The PVV wants 10,000 additional workers in health care, and calls for an end to the Islamisation of care. In education, students will once again be expected to learn the national anthem, and all schools are to fly the national flag. The chapter headed “choices for a better environment” tells us that global warming is simply the latest hype which we can safely ignore, and nuclear power plants are to end our dependency on ‘fossil fuels and foreign energy’.

Non-negotiable point
Dutch politics has a tradition of coalition governments and the new cabinet will be no exception to this rule. At least three parties will be necessary to form a new government, and should the Freedom Party be one of them, the majority of the above points will not survive the coalition talks. However, this does not seem to bother Geert Wilders much. His party programme tells us, “To the PVV, safeguarding old-age pensioners’ benefits is a non-negotiable point in coalition talks. The retirement age will stay at 65, not a day older”.

After the elections however, it took Wilders just one day to drop this non-negotiable point in order to allow for a possible coalition with the conservative VVD and the Christian Democrats, both of which want to raise the legal retirement age to 67.