Wilders, 48, whose latest book was released yesterday in New York, is at the nexus of a European movement. Marine Le Pen’s anti-euro, anti-immigrant National Front Party got a record 17.9 percent of the vote on April 22 in the first round of France’s presidential election. At least two parties with similar views are poised to enter parliament in Greece after the May 6 ballot.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders left Rutte’s Liberal Party in 2004 to found his own political organization and campaign against immigrants and Muslim culture.
Europe’s financial crisis is helping Dutch politician Geert Wilders drill his anti-euro, anti-Islamic platform deeper into the mainstream.
The bleached-blond Freedom Party leader brought down the government on April 21 when he refused to support budget cuts proposed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Now Wilders, who rose to international prominence in 2008 with his movie denouncing Islam, plans to turn September’s elections into a vote on Dutch attitudes about Europe and the single currency.
As the euro area faces up to recession and the highest unemployment in 14 years, and bailout fatigue builds even in northern countries such as the Netherlands, Wilders finds himself riding the crest of a wave of opposition to austerity.
“Wilders suddenly feels that he’s on the right side of history,” Jan Techau, director of the Brussels-based European Center of Endowment for International Peace, said in an April 25 interview. “The crisis has given everybody a very good vent to let things out.”