Wilders willing to step back anti-Islam rhetoric to be part of next government

November 15, 2023   THE HAGUE – PVV leader Geert Wilders wants to be part of the next Cabinet, and he is willing to make concessions to make that happen, also when it comes to his anti-Islam rhetoric. “There are more important priorities,” Wilders said in an interview with Nieuwsuur. 

Wilders stressed that the core value of the PVV is still the same as when it was founded in 2006 – limiting the “Islamization” of the Netherlands. But according to the leader of the far-right party, the Netherlands currently has bigger problems than pushing back Islam. 

“Islam will never leave our DNA, but the priority now clearly lies with other matters when it comes to the coming period of government,” Wilders said. He mentioned immigration, asylum, healthcare, and social security as more important issues. “If we immediately get to the negotiating table – which I hope for, and which, to be honest, I also expect – those will be our priorities.” 

The anti-Islam rhetoric is still very much part of the PVV’s election program. “The Netherlands is not an Islamic country,” Wilders wrote in the foreword of the program. The program still states that the PVV wants to ban mosques and Islamic schools from the Netherlands and to ban the Koran and Islamic headscarves from government buildings. “Do we say: if this is not achieved, then we will not govern? The answer to that is no. I understand that other points are now more important.” 

In his interview with Nieuwsuur, Wilders said he would like to govern in a majority coalition with center-right parties. His preferred coalition partners are the BBB, VVD, JA21, and NSC, “although I still have to convince Pieter Omtzigt.” 

Wilders has often made headlines with his fight against Islam in the Netherlands. In 2018, for example, he proposed to ban “certain Islamic expressions” by law, calling the religion an “existential danger” that threatens the Netherlands. A year later, he wanted to ban Ministers having dual nationalities. Both proposals got shot down in parliament and by the Council of State, which called them “incompatible with the essential principles of the democratic constitutional state.” 

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