Dutch Labor Party joins “cordon sanitaire” against Wilders
Dutch Labour Party leader Wouter Bos has ruled out any possibility of his party ever governing in a coalition with Geert Wilders’ rightwing populist Freedom Party. During the recording of the TV programme NOVA College Tour, the Finance Minister described a coalition with Mr Wilders as being “totally unthinkable”.
In a debate with students, Mr Bos said that the Netherlands under Mr Wilders would be “unpleasant, cold and bleak“. He added that although the Freedom Party leader’s analysis was right in some areas, Mr Wilders had no solutions to the problems.
Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Union party leader André Rouvoet also said on Monday that it would be “unthinkable” for his party to join a coalition with the Freedom Party, on account of the its programme, tone and way of operating.
Socialist Party leader Agnes Kant said on the party’s website that while the SP was happy to cooperate with Mr Wilders on certain issues, it would also never join a coalition with his party. She said the SP had “unbridgeable differences” with the Freedom Party, as it was too rightwing and backed discrimination against Muslims.
The centre left D66 party has also said it would not join a cabinet with Mr Wilders. And the Green Left party said it would not consider the idea in a month of Sundays.
Both the opposition conservative VVD party and the senior partner in the ruling coalition, the Christian Democrats, have said they do not rule out forming a coalition with any party, including the Freedom Party. It was an interview with Christian Democrat chairman Peter van Heeswijk in de Volkskrant newspaper that sparked off the entire debate. His remarks that the party did not discount any coalition formation drew criticism from within his own party. One senior party member, Anton Zijderveld, withdrew his party membership in protest, accusing the Christian Democrats of “Islamophobia“.
Leading the polls
Mr Wilders has only ruled out governing with one party, Green Left, whose programme in Mr Wilders’ words is “diagonally opposed” to his own. The Freedom Party is currently riding high in the polls; according to pollster Maurice de Hond’s Peil.nl, it has been ahead of all the other parties for weeks. In an interview with the NOS public broadcaster Mr Wilders said there is growing support for his policies, which include an end to immigration, the repatriation of immigrant offenders and lower taxation. He described the “leftwing cordon sanitaire” against his party as “an insult to the electorate“.