These days Geert Wilders has become the great hope of all European Eurosceptic and Europhobic parties who enthusiastically received his victory in last Wednesday’s election in the Netherlands.
Born on September 6, 1963 in Venlo, in the province of Limburg, near Germany, he is the youngest of four brothers in a Catholic family. He describes himself as an agnostic, although a defender of European Christian roots. His father is Dutch while his mother grew up in Indonesia, although he is often criticized for not talking much about the latter aspect of his biography. His father was hidden from the Nazis during World War II and throughout his life he refused to visit Germany.
After finishing secondary education, the young Wilders wanted to see the world and decided to travel to Israel where he worked as a volunteer in a moshav, a type of rural Israeli community similar to a Kibbutz. and consists of individual agricultural farms. Later, he took advantage of his stay to travel to Arab countries, where he said he was shocked by the lack of democracy. His great admiration for the State of Israel also came from that time.
After returning to the Netherlands, he started working in the health insurance sector and soon began to show an interest in politics. His first job in this field was as a spokesman for the liberal conservative party and later he was appointed as a councilor in Utrecht. It seems that the change in his political thinking happened when he started working as a parliamentary advisor to the deputy Frits Bolkestein from 1990 to 1998, the first Dutch politician to have a speech in favor of limiting immigration, especially of Muslim origin. Wilders not only shared these ideas, but also learned from his mentor how to defend them. According to his older brother, with whom he did not speak, during the 80s, the young Wilders “was not clearly left or right at that time, nor was he xenophobic. But I was attracted to the game of politics, the struggle for power and influence.
After this period, Wilders won a seat in 1998 with the Liberal acronym and even became a spokesperson for this party, but decided to leave this formation due to disagreements about Turkey’s membership in the European Union and established his own political forces. , the Freedom Party (PVV), in 2004. When his figure began to be known in Dutch politics and he began to openly defend his rejection of the Islamization of Europe. They said he was shocked by the murders of far-right leader Pim Fortuyn in 2002, whom he thought greatly influenced Wilders, and of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, known for his parodies against in Islam. In 2006, his party gained parliamentary representation with 9 seats and became the fifth force in the country, later it reached the third position and even the second. But no one predicted that in these elections it will double the seats and become the most popular political party in the country with 37 representatives while the Social Democrats and Greens, the second force, will have to settle for 25.
In 2010, he supported the Liberals, his former party, in the first term of the Mark Rutte era, although he was not part of the government coalition. His vote against the 2012 budget led to the downfall of the Government and the calling of early elections. Since then, the liberals led by Rutte refused to negotiate with him and a cordon sanitaire was established. After his victory on Wednesday, his former party is not ready to form a coalition, although it will vote in his favor as a tolerant partner in a conservative government. A position that could delay talks to form the Executive for months and angered Wilders.
His speech with xenophobic and Eurosceptic proclamations is accompanied by a personality with some eccentric tones. Her dark brown hair turned blonde when she entered politics and the Dutch media began comparing her to Marilyn Monroe until her hair turned gray. This unique and unconventional image makes him similar to other populist politicians such as Donald Trump or Boris Johnson, who develop his role as an “outsider”, although he always rejects these types of comparisons. In addition, he has always denied the far-right label and describes himself as a right-wing liberal who opposes fascism. Despite this, in recent years it has strengthened its relationship with other parties that are also considered extreme right such as Le Pen’s National Rally, the Italian League, the Belgian Vlaams Belang or the Austrian Freedom Party. His victory was also greeted with euphoria by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, who was accused by the European Commission for the authoritarian drift in which the country is collapsing.
Although in these elections Wilders held back many of his ideas in what seems to be an attempt to seduce more voters and be able to join other political forces, his statements are always controversial. He came to defend the Netherlands’ ban on hosting mosques or reading the Koran and compared the Muslim holy book to the work written by Hitler, “Mein Kampf.” In addition, he is in favor of women not being able to cover their faces with Islamic scarves in public buildings. The courts also convicted him, though without a fine, for insulting Muslims. Although he claimed to be ready to “put a lot of these ideas in the freezer” in relation to Islam, after his election victory he continued to defend limiting immigration and a referendum on remaining in the EU. Despite these ideas associated with the extreme right, he is a defender of the rights of the LGTBIQ collective.
In 2004, two suspects were arrested for trying to kill him, which means that since then he has had to provide security and his movements have been heavily restricted. Something that is difficult to digest in a country where until now the prime minister travels by bicycle, despite the rise of Mocro. The mafia of Moroccan origin caused many public figures to start providing security and even the heir to the throne, Princess Amalia of Holland, suffered threats of kidnapping. Nothing surprising for Wilders, who has endured this situation for decades and assured that he would not wish it on even his worst enemy.
Not much is known about his personal life, but he has been married since 1992 to his wife, Krisztina, a former Hungarian diplomat of Jewish origin. Now the big question is whether Wilders will become prime minister after 13 years under Rutte. If the Dutch tradition is fulfilled that the leader of the Executive is one of the party with the most votes, he must agree with the liberals and the centrist party of Pieter Omtzigt called the New Social Contract, which will add 81 vote or whatever. 88 if the Peasant movement joins.-Ciudadano, a force that won seven seats and shares with Wilders its rejection of policies against climate change dictated by Brussels. After the refusal of the Liberals to form a Government, this possibility has become complicated, but what is clear is that Wilders’ speech will continue to mark Dutch politics.