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1/8/17

The Netherlands: Far-right party still leading in Dutch polls, despite leader’s criminal guilt

Volendam is a village of clogs, canals, cheese – and anger. A former fishing village-turned-tourist-haven north-east of Amsterdam on the Markermeer lake, it offered one of the country’s strongest turnouts for far-right populist Geert Wilders the last time the country went to the polls.

Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination at a rally where he called for “fewer Moroccans”. His supporters in this overwhelmingly white, conservative town see the trial and verdict as political persecution of a maverick anti-establishment champion.

“We don’t like what the government does so we support him,” said Wim Keizer, curator of the Volendam museum, a small building filled with tableaux of families and fishermen in traditional dress, including a dog-drawn cart and the cabin of a North Sea fishing skiff.

Wilders’ Freedom party (PVV) has risen from being a rightwing gadfly of the Dutch establishment to one of the most powerful forces in national politics, remaking the image of a nation once regarded as a beacon of liberal values. It is currently leading in polls ahead of national elections next year.

Read more: Far-right party still leading in Dutch polls, despite leader’s criminal guilt | World news | The Guardian

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