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Wilders’ PVV part of Dutch protest movement tradition

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - Significant numbers of Dutch voters have put their X behind a PVV candidate in the recent election for the European parliament. Geert Wilders’ party successfully used the EP-campaign as a referendum on politics in the Netherlands, winning 4 of the 25 seats. The PVV particularly siphoned off support from Vice-Premier Wouter Bos’ Labour (PvdA), the party with the biggest loss down to 3 from 7 seats, and Premier Jan Peter Balkenende’s CDA, which despite its loss keeps the single largest block of 5 EP destined deputies (down from 7). The conservative liberal VVD dropped only one seat, down to 3 from 4. Minority coalition partner CU, which partners with the Political Reformed Party SGP for the EP vote, increased its share of the popular vote but gained no additional seats, 2. The other seats went to EU skeptic socialist SP (unchanged at 2), EU friendly GreenLeft (3 was 2) and the progressive liberal EU promoting D66, the other big winner, with 3 seats (previously 1). Wilders’ impressive showing attracted wide international coverage. Forgotten in this year’s analysis of the election results is the fact that current Dutch voters continue a long tradition of political protest movements, which includes the prewar National Socialist Party, the postwar Farmers’ Party led by Boer Koekoek, which ironically enjoyed much popular support in the cities, and the Gnomes Party.