Learn more about Geert Wilders
|Born||September 6, 1963
Geert Wilders (born in Venlo on 6 September, 1963) is a Dutch right wing conservative politician who is best known for his views favoring the restriction of immigration, particularly from non-western countries, and his opposition to Turkey joining the European Union.
 Political career
In September 2004, he left the right-wing liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD in Dutch), having been a member since 1989, to form his own political party, the Groep Wilders. This occurred because of a dispute within the VVD in late August 2004, about (among other things) his refusal to share the party's position that EU-accession negotiations must be started with Turkey. Geert Wilders has been in the Tweede Kamer since 1998. The Groep Wilders has recently been given the official name Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV or Party for Freedom).
His party program is one that claims to be committed to freedom of the individual; Wilders believes that the Netherlands has been held hostage by elitist, mostly social democrat and left wing-liberal, politicians for decades. He claims to want to give it "back to the people" and in this respect he can be seen as a populist.
His political views (and so the ones of the PVV as well) often overlap those of the deceased Pim Fortuyn and his List Pim Fortuyn. There are strong resemblances, certainly on socio-economic issues, to libertarianism. Wilders wants to lower taxes, decrease most welfare and the minimum wage, raise highway speed limits and cut state regulations by making it mandatory to scrap two legal rules for every new one to be instated. On the crime issue he has supported a U.S.-style three strikes law with mandatory life sentences; initially also for petty theft — arguing that there was an enormous shoplifting problem caused by Moroccan immigrants that could only be resolved this way — but he subsequently modified his position in that he wants only three successive acts of violent crime to give rise to such punishment.
So far, few politicians have joined his cause. Notwithstanding, in polls released following the assassination of Theo van Gogh, it was estimated that Wilders' party could win 29 (out of 150) seats in the Dutch parliament (Tweede Kamer). With the uproar over the killing of Van Gogh subsiding, this number declined to a low of one in October 2005. In February 2006, after the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, it rose again to three seats.
A few weeks after the assassination, Geert Wilders stayed away from regular meetings in parliament for several weeks. Even though a member's presence is not mandatory, it is uncommon not to show up for weeks on end. Geert Wilders has stated that he did this out of concern for his personal security. Having been assigned a new seating position in the parliamentary meeting hall (one further away from the public observation area), he has once again started to attend meetings.
Wilders is under constant security protection because of frequent threats to his life. On 10 November 2004, two suspected terrorists were captured after an hour-long siege of a building in The Hague. They had three grenades and have been accused of planning to kill Geert Wilders as well as then fellow MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The men in question were presumed members of what the Dutch secret service, the AIVD, has termed the Hofstadgroep.
In recent interviews Geert Wilders more than once indicated that the Dutch Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights should be changed or temporarily revoked if necessary to better protect the Dutch people from Islamic extremism. He is in favor of stripping criminals with dual nationality of their Dutch citizenship and deporting them to the country of their original nationality.
In response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy Wilders published the specific set of cartoons on his website (February 1, 2006), purportedly in support of the Danish cartoonists and freedom of speech. Following his publication, Wilders claimed to have received more than 40 death threats in just two days.
In November 2006, PVV won, in their first Parlimentary Election, 9 out of 150 available seats.