Wilders hopes that Dutch voters will choose him to become their country’s next Prime Minister, and Reuters reported that his Freedom Party is leading opinion polls at 17%, just barely a percentage point above the incumbent’s party. Even if his support remains constant until the mid-March election, however, this wouldn’t be enough for him to rule the country, and a complicated coalition-forming process would be expected to ensue which might see all of the rival parties uniting to dilute his power. Part of the reason why he’s so reviled by the Dutch political class is because of his explicit Euroskepticism and what his enemies have claimed is outright racism towards Muslims, though contrarily, it’s these hardline positions which have won him the most support from the electorate.
Wilders is well-known across Europe for promising to ban the Koran and close down mosques, and he was recently found guilty for inciting discrimination because some of his comments about Moroccans. He claimed from the get-go that the trial was politically motivated by his opponents and that he never intended to do such a thing with his inflammatory comments. Characteristic of his defiant attitude, Wilders opened his campaign by controversially declaring in regards to Moroccans that – quote – “Not all are scum, but there is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe, mostly young people” – end quote. Apparently, the politician hasn’t learned his legal lesson and is sticking to his guns in order to invigorate his base amidst the tide of anti-establishment “New Populism” that’s sweeping the globe. In parallel with his national focus, he vowed to hold a Brexit-like referendum on leaving the EU, which could see the departure of the bloc’s first continental state and the organization’s further unravelling if it passes.
There’s still a long way to go before this could ever happen, as it’s obvious that this lighting rod of controversy is going to meet unprecedented resistance from all levels of society in trying to stop what they believe to be a racist demagogue from gaining power, but at the same time, there’s a growing number of people who look up to him as a wise leader who’s not afraid to pursue what they believe to be politically incorrect solutions to the country’s various problems.