After the Amsterdam court ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders, because he expressed Islam critical opinions, all the Dutch opinion pollsters report a moving electorate.
Polster say that Wilders his Party For Freedom (PVV) has become more popular (NL). It’s reported that the party has grown from its current 9 seats in parliament to now 20 (virtual) seats in the polls. These poll numbers make the Party For Freedom (PVV) the third biggest political party in the politically fragmented Dutch landscape, were the biggest political party (CDA) now only has 29 seats (NL) in the polls (out of 150 available).
Now that the Amsterdam court ordered his prosecution and declared his declared opinions illegal, a conviction seems only a question of time. So far it’s unknown what kind of electoral effect a conviction will have. But it does not seem totally unjustified to think that this conviction can make the Party For Freedom the biggest political party in the polls.
A first reaction came from Liberal Party (VVD) leader Mark Rutte who declared in Dutch biggest newspaper: “abolish that law” (NL) that is used to prosecute Geert Wilders. He says he does not want to see any further opinion prosecutions in The Netherlands. According to the liberal leader any body should be able to speak his mind as long he does not threatens others with violence.
But when the Party For Freedom (PVV) earlier this week put up a vote in parliament to abolish the law, the liberal party (VVD) voted against it (NL). Today’s statement to “abolish that law” thus seems to be mere opportunistic political maneuvering to do damage control.
And damage control the Dutch liberals need indeed. Before the Party For Freedom was founded, they were the sole representatives of the Dutch political right. But as the Dutch electorate moved more to the right, the party did not. Well expect for the then liberal parliamentary member Geert Wilders. Instead of changing course and distance them self from the socialist middle ground, the liberal party (VVD) choose to evict Geert Wilders from the party. But Wilders did not leave alone; he took a lot of liberal voters to his new, more conservative Party For Freedom (PVV). Since then, the liberals have not done well and they must fear a conviction of Geert Wilders. Because that conviction might not stop him at all and might only make him gain more of their electorate.
Thus so far, opposition in The Netherlands against the opinion, or if you like sharia, court has been quite marginal.