Big win for Dutch anti-Islam leader
AMSTERDAM: Dutch anti-Islamist leader Geert Wilders scored major gains in local polls on Thursday, making him a serious challenger for power in the June national polls. Wilders's Freedom Party (PVV) led in the city of Almere and was second in The Hague.
The results came on top of an opinion poll showing that the PVV, which campaigns against Muslim immigration, would win the most seats — 27 in the 150-member Dutch parliament — in the June 9 election. That would make it tough for Balkenende's Christian Democrats, projected to win one seat less, to forge a strong coalition without Wilders.
The popularity of Wilders, who compares Islam to fascism and the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf," has dented the traditional image of the Netherlands as a bastion of tolerance.