Party for Freedom: Wikis

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Party for Freedom
Partij voor de Vrijheid
Leader Geert Wilders
Chairperson Geert Wilders
Chair of the Second Chamber Parliamentary Party Geert Wilders
Chair of the European Parliament Delegation Barry Madlener
Founded 22 February 2006
Split from People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Ideology National liberalism,
Conservative liberalism,
Economic liberalism,
Euroscepticism,
Secularism
Political position Right-wing
European Parliament Group Non-Inscrits
Official colours Red, White and Blue
Seats in the First Chamber
Seats in the Second Chamber
Seats in the European Parliament
Website
http://www.pvv.nl/
Politics of the Netherlands
Political parties
Elections

The Party for Freedom (Dutch: Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) is a conservative Dutch political movement. Founded in 2005 as the successor to Geert Wilders's one-man party in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands, it won nine seats in the 2006 general election, making it the fifth largest party in parliament, and third largest opposition party. It came second in 2009 European Parliament elections, winning 4 out of 25 seats.

The Party for Freedom breaks from the established centre right parties in the Netherlands like the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy with its administrative detention, hardliner assimilationist stance on the integration of immigrants—especially Muslim—into Dutch society. Otherwise, it votes consistently Eurosceptic. Strictly considered, the Party is not a political party like the others in the Dutch political landscape, since the organization has no open membership.

Contents

History

The party's history starts with Geert Wilders' departure from the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in September 2004. Wilders could not reconcile himself with the VVD positive stance towards Turkey's possible accession to the European Union, and left the party disgruntled.

Although the VVD would have expected Wilders to return his parliamentary seat to the party, Wilders refused, and continued to sit in parliament as a one-man party, Groep Wilders (Wilders Group).

In June 2005, Wilders was one of the leaders in the campaign against the European Constitution, which was rejected by Dutch voters by 62%.[1]

Bart Jan Spruyt, director of the conservative Edmund Burke Foundation, joined the party in January 2006, in order to formulate a party programme and to train its prospective representatives for the upcoming national election (then still scheduled for 2007).[2] Spruyt left the party in the summer of 2006, after it proved unable to provide for a greater conservative movement behind it, and people like Joost Eerdmans and Marco Pastors were unwilling to join the party.[3] After the 2006 elections, Spruyt said he wasn't surprised that the Party for Freedom won seats in the election, but he maintains that if the Party for Freedom sought this cooperation with Eerdmans and Pastors, the party would have won more seats, even enough so to help a possible CDA-VVD cabinet to a majority.[4] Later, Spruyt commented that the PVV had a 'natural tendency' toward fascism.[5] He later qualified the statement, though he didn't withdraw it. Former PVV candidate Lucas Hartong called Spruyt's claims 'a cheap insinuation'.[6]

In a HP/De Tijd profile dated December 2006 the party was described as a cult, with an extremely distrustful Wilders only accepting fellow candidates completely loyal to him, and compared to the SP led by Jan Marijnissen but without reaching that degree of organizational perfection.[7]

On January 10 2007, the PVV declared not to field candidates for the upcoming Provincial elections, this will also lead to the party being unrepresented in the Senate.[8]

On January 13 2007 NRC Handelsblad reported that a PVV intern had solicited for signatures on the website forums Dutch Disease Report and Polinco, the latter forum being described as far right by various organizations, among them the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet.[9] Any party participating in this election was required to collect at least 30 signatures of party supporters in each of the 19 election districts; of the 1500 signatures the PVV received, the Dutch Antifascist group identified 34 known far right supporters. In a response, Wilders said he regretted that far right sympathizers provided signatures, claimed no personal responsibility for the soliciting and repeated his dislike for far-right parties like Front National and Vlaams Belang.[10][11][12]

Noted writer and columnist Leon de Winter later declared the affair to be the result of a campaign of demonization against Geert Wilders led by NRC Handelsblad and Volkskrant newspapers, as well as the VARA.[13]

Former labour union leader and prominent Christian Democrat Doekle Terpstra proposed an initiative against Geert Wilders and the PVV on November 30, 2007, in newspaper Trouw.[14] Terpstra sees Wilders as promoting discrimination against Muslims and intolerance. He is supported in his cause by the large Dutch trade unions and refugee organizations. Politicians and the public are divided on Terpstra's initiative.[15] The newspaper De Pers reported the next day that much of Terpstra's support did not actualize.[16]

Recent polling by Maurice de Hond published in March 2009 has indicated that PVV is currently the most popular parliamentary party. The polls predicted that the party would take 21 per cent of the national vote, taking 32 out of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament. If the polling results were to be replicated at an official election, Wilders would be a major power broker and could become the Dutch Prime Minister.[17][18][19] However, polls of de Hond are not uncontroversial as his polls are only oriented towards a panel of people that once voted up for the election poll on internet themselves and so are not a random sample. According to Joop van Holsteyn, professor in election research, therefore the polls of de Hond are not representive for the population.[20] Other Dutch polls (Politieke Barometer and TNS NIPO) have showed different results with the PVV often getting less support, but still becoming very popular.

Platform

The Party for Freedom combines economic liberalism with a conservative programme towards immigration and culture. The party seeks tax cuts (€16 billion in the 2006 election programme), de-centralization, abolition of the minimum wage, and limiting child benefits and government subsidies. Regarding immigration and culture, the party believes that the Judeo-Christian and humanist traditions should be treated as the dominant culture in the Netherlands, and that immigrants should adapt accordingly. The party wants a halt to immigration from non-western countries. It is skeptical towards the EU, is against future EU enlargement with countries like Turkey and opposes a dominant presence of Islam in the Netherlands.[21] The party is also opposed to dual citizenship (see below).

Political issues

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Dual nationality

In February 2007, PVV parliamentarian Fritsma introduced a motion that would have prohibited any parliamentarian or executive branch politician from having dual citizenship. The PVV claims that it is unclear where someone's loyalty lies when one has two nationalities; the motion would have made it difficult if not impossible for Labour MPs Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak to become members of the new government. The motion had to be retracted though, after heavy pressure from the President of the House of Representatives, Gerdi Verbeet (Labour Party).[22] University of Maastricht law professor Twan Tak sees a risk in executive branch officials having dual citizenship, and was angered by Verbeet's insistence to close the debate.[23] In spite of this, the PVV planned to call for a vote of no confidence against junior ministers Aboutaleb and Albayrak when the new cabinet had its first meeting with the House of Representatives, as the party's claimed that their respectively Moroccan and Turkish passports put their loyalties into question (something the proposed citizenship law would have no effect upon).[24] Although the parliamentary motion in the end was only supported by the PVV itself.[25]

The issue of dual nationality however, was not over yet. On March 2, Radio Netherlands reported that Labour Party MP Khadiya Arib, who was just sworn into parliament the day before, is sitting in a Moroccan commission appointed by the Moroccan king.[26] The PVV held that this commission work by Arib endangers her loyalty to the Netherlands, and that she should choose between being a parliamentarian and sitting in that commission. Geert Wilders said it was shameful that Arib said on national television that her loyalty lies neither in the Netherlands, nor Morocco.[27] The liberal VVD had also problems with Arib's work, saying that her "double orientation would hurt Dutch integration."[28] All other parties were appalled by the PVV and VVD's behaviour.[29]

The party fielded a controversial motion in the 2007 algemene beschouwingen of the immigration budget, that called for a stop to immigration from Muslim countries. The House of Representatives at first would not move to bring the motion up for discussion. Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin said the motion was in violation of the Dutch constitution and international law.[30] Another motion by the PVV, that found it undesirable for police agents to wear veils, did find a parliamentary majority.[31]

Wilders has also put forth the idea that the Netherlands should open up its own "Guantanamo Bay" that would detain people which the intelligence service sees as a security threat, somewhat akin to the Israeli and Algerian administrative detention.[32]

Name

The name "Party for Freedom" (Partij voor de Vrijheid) was chosen in order to refer to the Freedom Party (Partij van de Vrijheid), a Dutch political party founded just after the Second World War which eventually merged with a faction of social-liberal dissidents from the PvdA, led by Pieter Oud, to become the VVD in 1948.[33]

Election results

House of Representatives
Election year # of total votes  % of overall vote # of seats won
2006 579,490 5.90% 9 (out of 150)

In the elections for the European parliament in 2009, the party won 17 % of the votes [34] [35].

European Parliament
Election year # of total votes  % of overall vote # of seats won
2009 769,125 17,0% 4 (out of 25)

[36]

  • In March 2009, according to a poll by Maurice de Hond the PVV, if there were elections, would take 18 per cent of the vote to win 27 seats in the 150-seat Second Chamber (Lower House) of the Dutch parliament [37].
  • In December 2009, the party tied for first place with the governing Christen-Democratisch Appel (CDA) in the Netherlands, according to a new poll by Maurice de Hond: both parties would get 26 seats [38].
  • On March 3, 2010, elections for the local councils were held in the municipalities of The Netherlands. The PVV only contested these March 3 local elections in the Dutch towns The Hague and Almere, because of a shortage of good candidates. MP Raymond de Roon headed the campaign in his home town of Almere. Fellow MP Sietse Fritsma was appointed head of the local election campaign in The Hague. Both men would continue to serve as MPs as well as local councillors after their election [39]. The PVV scored big gains, indicating that the party and Wilders might dominate the political scene in the run-up to the parliamentary elections scheduled on June 9, 2010. The PVV won in Almere and came second to the Dutch Labour party in The Hague. In Almere, the PVV won 21 percent of the vote to Labour's 18 percent, preliminary results showed. In The Hague, the PVV had 8 seats -- second to Labour with 10 seats. The local elections were the first test of public opinion since the collapse of the cabinet Balkenende IV in February 2010. The fall of the cabinet and the upcoming campaign for the parliamentary elections overshadowed these municipal elections [40]. If voters had elected a new parliament, the PVV would have won between 24 and 27 seats in the 150 seat Dutch parliament [41] [42] [43][44] [45] [46] [47] [48] The Maurice de Hond poll published on March 6, 2010, put the PVV on 27 seats in the coming June 9 national elections, while the CDA and the Labour Party (PvdA) were both on 24 seats. This poll also showed that none of the three most likely coalitions could form a majority government without forming a coalition with a fourth or fifth party. [49].
  • On March 8, 2010, Wilders announced to take a seat on the Hague city council, after came clear he won 13,000 preference votes. Earlier he had said he would not take up a seat if he won [50] [51]. One week after these local elections, the PVV called in vain for an inquiry into the elections in The Hague, since a YouTube footage allegedly showed irregularities, including more than one person entering polling booths at the same time and a voter not putting the ballot in the box. The calls to investigate this report were rejected. The Hague council said the municipal elections went well in the city and that it was too late to lodge such a complaint. This should have been done immediately when the results were announced. In Rotterdam was decided to recount all the local election votes in the city because of such irregularities, after a protest by the party Leefbaar Rotterdam, a local party which program stands close to that of the PVV. [52] [53].
  • On March 18, 2010, the PVV gave up trying to form a governing coalition in Almere. In a press release, the party said says most of the other parties had refused to give ground to PVV demands on what it describes as "essential issues". These issues include the need for what the party called ‘city commandos’, street patrols that would keep order and maintain security in the town by lack of proper law enforcement. Other obstacles were the PVV’s demands for reduced taxes for Almere residents and its fight against what the party sees as "the increasing influence of Islam in Dutch society". The PVV complained that it was forced to stay in the opposition through the manoeuvering of the political elite. [54]

Representation

Members of the House of Representatives

After the 2006 elections the party has 9 representatives in the House of Representatives, chosen are:

The educational and income levels of the supporters are higher than previously thought, the Party for Freedom finding a base in middle-class voters in European neighborhoods who fear their freedom and self-expression are threatened by unassimilated Muslim immigrants.[56] There is a taboo to voting for a party labelled in the popular media as extreme, but that taboo is slowly fading as more educated conservative voters choose the Party for Freedom.[57]

In January 2010, the report Polarisatie en radicalisering in Nederland (transl. "Polarisation and radicalisation in The Netherlands") by political researchers Moors, Lenke Balogh, Van Donselaar and De Graaff from the Tilburg University research group IVA [58] stated that the PVV is not an extreme right wing party, but contained some radical right wing elements. The PVV statements on 'islamisation' and non-western immigrants appear to be discriminatory and the party organisation is authoritarian rather than democratic, said the researchers who were looking into polarisation and radicalism across the Netherlands. They described the PVV as "new radical right", a party with a national democratic ideology but without extreme right wing roots. In particular, the report stated that the party's pro-Israel stance showed that it is not neo-Nazi. It tends however towards a national democratic ideology. And on the internet the party is a magnet for extreme views. Wilders called the report "scandalous" - in particular the link between defending the national interest and the radical right.

An alleged earlier version of the report, leaked to the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant in November 2009, said that Wilders' party is an extreme right wing grouping and a threat to social cohesion and democracy. The paper claimed at the time the researchers were under pressure to water down the conclusions because of their political sensitivity. The Dutch Home affairs minister Guus ter Horst, who commissioned the research, denied exerting any influence on the report [59] [60]. In a reaction, Wilders accused her of "playing a dirty game" [61] [62]

Given that the party is still a relatively young political organisation, its 2006 electoral results can be regarded as quite remarkable, giving the party more seats in the House of Representatives than well-established parties such as GreenLeft, Democrats 66 and ChristianUnion. Its surprisingly rapid rise in popularity also caught many political pundits off guard, especially as the pre-election polls were predominantly predicting a gain of no more than 6 seats.[citation needed]

The party has seen waves of popularity in the past—in December 2006, some polls put it ahead of the Labour Party, indicating it would win 24 to 32 seats or more.[63] Its backing of a referendum on the ratification by The Netherlands of the European Constitution was in line with the majority of voters who supported such a referendum.[64] New prosecution attempts against its leader for hate speech and other related events propelled the Party for Freedom to the biggest party in the polls in March 2009.[65]

By February 2010, the PVV had once more become the most popular party, according to a poll conducted by Maurice de Hond. According to the poll, the PVV would win 27-32 parliament seats in the next legislative election, up two seats since last polling in early January [66] [67].

Fitna financing

In 2008 The Friends of the Party of Freedom, under the name of "Scarlet Pimpernel Productions", a pseudonym adopted out of fear of reprisal,[68] funded the production of Fitna (Arabic: فِتْنَةٌ‎), a short film by Geert Wilders. Approximately 17 minutes in length, the film shows selected excerpts from Suras of the Qur'an, interspersed with media clips and newspaper clippings showing or describing acts of violence and/or hatred by Muslims. The film attempts to demonstrate that the Qur'an motivates its followers to hate all who violate Islamic teachings. Consequently, the film argues, Islam encourages, among others, acts of terrorism, antisemitism, violence against women and homosexuals, and Islamic universalism. A large part of the film deals with the influence of Islam on the Netherlands. The film's title, the Arabic language word "fitna", is used to describe either "disagreement and division among people" or a "test of faith in times of trial".[69] Wilders, a prominent critic of Islam, described the film as "a call to shake off the creeping tyranny of Islamization".[70]

'Infiltration'

In January 2010, Karen Geurtsen, a Dutch journalist from the magazine HP/De Tijd, revealed a painful breach of security in the PVV and especially around leader Geert Wilders. The Freedom Party was often depicted as a fortress, without any members and avoiding the ‘left-wing’ Dutch press. In 2009, Geurtsen spent four months working for the party undercover, posing as an intern, "to find out what the party is really like". Afterwards, she claimed that she had had unchecked access to Wilders. "I could have killed him", were the first words of the article that she published about this operation. According to her, she had "dozens" of opportunities to take his life [71].

On Twitter, Geert Wilders reacted with the remark that "the left-wing media had sunk to new depths". Geurtsen insisted that she infiltrated the party "as a service to potential Freedom Party voters who want to know more". She reinforced the general image that the Freedom Party revolved around just one person, Wilders [72].

See also

References

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  3. ^ de Jong, Addy (2006-08-17). "„Historische kans voorbij”" (in Dutch). Reformatorisch Dagblad. http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1271047. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  4. ^ Hoekman, Jacob (2006-11-23). "Spruyt: Negeren van Wilders onverstandig" (in Dutch). Reformatorisch Dagblad. http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1282578/Spruyt%3A+Negeren+van+Wilders+onverstandig.html. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  5. ^ Spruyt, Bart (2007-01-01). "Weimar in aanbouw (deel 1)" (in Dutch). The weblog of Bart J. Spruyt. http://bartjanspruyt.blogspot.com/2007/01/weimar-in-aanbouw-deel-1.html. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
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  8. ^ "Partij Wilders doet niet mee aan Statenverkiezingen" (in Dutch). ANP (Volkskrant). 2007-01-10. http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article386300.ece/Partij_Wilders_doet_niet_mee_aan_Statenverkiezingen. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
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  15. ^ Andringa, Hans (2007-12-04). "Dutch show mixed reactions to anti-Muslim party". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/071204-freedom-party-mc. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  16. ^ Bessems, Kustaw (2007-12-05). "Tekort aan redelijke positivo’s" (in Dutch). De Pers. http://www.depers.nl/binnenland/135616/Tekort-aan-redelijke-positivos.html. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  17. ^ "Geert Wilders' Freedom Party rises to 32 seats". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. 2009-03-29. http://www.radionetherlands.nl/news/zijlijn/6235703/Geert-Wilders-Freedom-Party-rises-to-32-seats. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
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  27. ^ "Kamer akkoord met Marokkaans advieswerk Arib" (in Dutch). Elsevier. 2007-03-08. http://www.elsevier.nl/web/10115100/Nieuws/Politiek/Kamer-akkoord-met-Marokkaans-advieswerk-Arib.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  28. ^ "Kamp: Nevenfunctie Arib schaadt integratie" (in Dutch). ANP (Reformatorisch Dagblad). 2007-03-08. http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1294450/Kamp:+Nevenfunctie+Arib+schaadt+integratie.html. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  29. ^ Stokmans, Derk (2007-03-09). "Lange dag in de Kamer met veel hatelijkheden" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article1777410.ece/Lange_dag_in_de_Kamer_met_veel_hatelijkheden. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
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  35. ^ "Derk Stokmans: The dilemma facing mainstream Dutch parties"
  36. ^ http://www.telegraaf.nl/verkiezingen/ep2009/
  37. ^ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/4933687/Geert-Wilders-leads-Dutch-polls.html " Geert Wilders leads Dutch polls - Britain's controversial ban on the anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has pushed his Freedom Party into the lead for the first time, according to Dutch opinion polls"]
  38. ^ "Dutch Far-Right PvdV Tied with Ruling CDA"
  39. ^ "PVV picks second MP for local elections"
  40. ^ "Local elections overshadowed by national politics"
  41. ^ "Big gains for far-right leader Geert Wilders as Dutch go to the polls - Anti-Muslim populist looks to dominate political landscape as general election looms"
  42. ^ "Dutch anti-Islam leader is major winner in polls"
  43. ^ "Gains for far-right in Dutch elections"
  44. ^ "Anti-Immigrant Party Strong in Dutch Polls"
  45. ^ (Dutch)"Uitslagen verkiezingen Gemeenteraad 2010"
  46. ^ (Dutch)"Uitslagen verkiezingen Gemeenteraad 2010"
  47. ^ (Dutch)"Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen 2010"
  48. ^ "Geert Wilders is major winner in Dutch polls"
  49. ^ "Wilders three seats ahead of rivals in Dutch poll"
  50. ^ "Wilders to take council seat in the Hague"
  51. ^ "Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has announced he will take up a seat on the local council of the city of The Hague"
  52. ^ "Calls for local poll recount in The Hague"
  53. ^ "Rotterdam to investigate proxy voting"
  54. ^ http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/dutch-rss-news/wilders-pvv-party-kept-in-almere-opposition_31769.html "Wilders' PVV party 'kept in Almere opposition'"
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  58. ^ "Polarisatie en radicalisering in Nederland - Een verkenning van de stand van zaken in 2009"
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  60. ^ "Putting Geert Wilders on the political map"
  61. ^ "WC-eend adviseert Guusje ter Horst"
  62. ^ "Wilders: Minister Ter Horst speelt vuil spelletje"
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  66. ^ "Dutch Party for Freedom Recovers Top Rank"
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  70. ^ Park, Michael (2008-01-21). "Iran Warns Netherlands Not to Air Controversial 'Anti-Muslim' Film". Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,324406,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  71. ^ "Undercover journalist gains easy access to Geert Wilders"
  72. ^ "Undercover journalist infiltrates Freedom Party"

External links


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