Wilders, 53, was surrounded by police and security guards when he made his remarks during a walkabout in his party’s stronghold of Spijkenisse, part of an ethnically diverse industrial area just south of Rotterdam.
“The Moroccan scum in Holland … once again not all are scum … but there is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe, mostly young people ... and that should change,” he told journalists as he attempted to take a stroll in a market.
Wilders, who has lived in hiding since the 2004 murder by an Islamist of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, is hoping a global upsurge in populism will propel him to power in the parliamentary election. His campaign pledges include a ban on Muslim immigration, shuttering all mosques and leaving the European Union.
He has been leading opinion polls for several weeks and his progress is being monitored carefully by politicians who fear European politics is lurching heavily to the right.
“If you want to regain your country, if you want to make the Netherlands for the people of the Netherlands, your own home again, than you can only vote [for the Freedom party],” Wilders said. “Please, make the Netherlands ours again.”
The MP, who has also vowed to ban the Qur’an should he be voted into power, was convicted of discrimination in December over previous comments he made about Moroccans living in the Netherlands.
Opinion polls give Wilders and his PVV party between 24 and 28 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament, two to four seats ahead of Liberal prime minister Mark Rutte’s ruling VVD party. However, even if Wilders wins, he would struggle to form a government because most major parties have ruled out joining a coalition with him, viewing his policies as offensive or unconstitutional. The fragmented political landscape means a coalition government of four or more parties is now all but inevitable.
Author: Robin McKie