He’s out. Wilders that is. After a week of what never looked like a serious attempt at forming a new government, the new CDA leader Maxime Verhagen, who succeeded outgoing PM Jan Peter Balkenende after the crushing defeat of their party at the recent parliamentary elections, confirmed that he doesn’t want to form a coalition with the VVD (Conservative Liberals) of Mark Rutte and the PVV (Freedom Party) of political terrorist Geert Wilders.
That said, Verhagen wouldn’t mind embarking on a governing trip with the VVD at all. But there is not one, but probably two worlds of difference between Wilders’ outlook on society and that of the biggest fraction of the CDA. Being in a coalition with the Islam-bashers of the Freedom Party would very likely blow up in the Christian-Democratic face, with any left-wingers fleeing the party.
It’s a good move by Verhagen, not only for the CDA but certainly for the country as well. It’s not so much that Wilders would have seen any of his outrageous and sometimes even unconstitutional views laid down in a coalition agreement. Rather that his very position in the cabinet (vice-premier for Allah’s sake!) would become a serious slur on the Netherlands’ international reputation.
Just imagine PM-to-be, Rutte, having a day off, just when the Moroccan prime minister is visiting the Netherlands. He would be forced to deal with the stand-in, Wilders, and shake the hand of a man who wants a tax on headscarves, advocates ethnic registration, would ban the Qur’an, wishes to forbid immigration of- anyone coming from a predominantly Muslim country (this includes non-Muslims coming from these countries) and accuses Dutch politicians of Moroccan descent of not being loyal to the Netherlands on the grounds of having a dual nationality. Incidentally, Morocco simply denies its citizens the right to give up their nationality.
So what’s the Supreme Xenophobe to do now? As the opposition leader, holding one sixth of the seats in parliament, he will certainly continue to contaminate the political debate with his objectionable ideas. Ideas that, astonishingly, attracted 1.5 million Dutch voters. You just wonder if any of them has a triple digit IQ.
But it’s quite likely that pretty soon the shit will hit the fan in the Freedom Party. The same thing happened with the LPF, Pim Fortuyn’s political heirs. They took parliament by storm in 2002, winning 26 seats only nine days after Fortuyn was murdered. In no time, the newfangled LPF MPs started fighting among each other, which led to an overwhelming defeat in the January 2003 elections. Four years later the party ceased to exist altogether.
The first cracks in the PVV bastion can be seen already. MP Hero Brinkman is openly standing up against the almighty Wilders, asking for more internal party democracy. If one thing leads to another, it’s not unlikely that in just a few years time, the Dutch political landscape will have no more Islam-bashing party to speak of. This would leave Wilders effectively unemployed. It’s hard to see him finding another job in this country. Maybe he could follow Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s footsteps and go work for a conservative think tank in the US.
And there’s always the Hungarian route. Wilders’ wife is Hungarian – interestingly, he has never wanted to confirm or deny his wife’s double nationality – which should make it easy for him to settle there. Even more so because a radical right, populist, extremely nationalistic party (Jobbik) is doing good business in Hungary these days. The bleached, internationally-known freedom fighter would fall right into their lap. And Wilders would have a new job.