Geert Wilders’ party, the PVV, has grown so popular so quickly that the Dutch politician finds himself in a position where he must marshal his forces carefully to prepare for his next big opportunities: provincial and parliamentary elections in 2011.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated an article on the topic from Trouw:
Wilders will not join the municipal elections
Geert Wilders will let next year’s municipal elections pass, and also the early elections in November in his own city Venlo. Wilders instead will focus next year on the provincial elections of March 2011 and the upcoming parliamentary elections in May 2011. In March 2011, he will only join the elections for municipal seats in the Hague and the city of Almere.
“The Senate [First Chamber] and House of Representatives [Parliament or Second Chamber] have our priority. Cordon Sanitaire or not, we will be ready to govern, and to be able to do that we must have seats in the Senate,” Wilders said.
In the European elections last June, Wilders’ PVV became the second-largest party in the Netherlands and the largest in 92 municipalities. But Wilders will not use his popularity to cash in at the municipal level. Preparing simultaneously for at least two elections for a party as young as the PVV is not feasible, says Wilders.
Another reason is that he has not found enough good candidates yet at the local level. “We tried to achieve that in four, five cities but have not succeeded so far. We have not found enough people whom I could answer for. If you then decide to join those municipal elections anyway, you run the risk of shooting your own foot.”
Wilders says that with his decision he wants to prevent “LPF-like conditions” [LPF=List Pim Fortuyn] and “the risk of working accidents” from occurring. “We would then lose too much goodwill in the run up to the Parliamentary elections.” The LPF, which won 26 seats out of 150 in the 2002 elections, disintegrated due to internal strife and a lack of good leadership [Pim Fortuyn was murdered just before the elections took place]. Wilders’ PVV has so far not been affected by internal trouble.
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The nine PVV MPs and five MEPs will each focus on a province to ensure that the PVV in the elections for new Provincial Councils [of which the elected members in their turn vote the Senate] will be well presented in 2011. Some of the current PVV MPs will possibly lead the party at the provincial level.
But what to do with the hundreds of thousands of voters in Edam-Volendam, Lelystad, Rotterdam, Gouda, Rucphen, Capelle aan den IJssel and Wilders’ own Venlo, where on November 18 a new council will be elected? In all of those cities the PVV, as of the European election in June, has become the largest party. “I hope that the people will understand our considerations. I will try as far as possible to arrange meetings in the country to explain the PVV’s choice,” says Wilders. He still thinks about making a recommendation to vote for specific parties just before the municipal elections in March next year [for Rotterdam that might be Leefbaar Rotterdam, “Livable Rotterdam”].
Wilders will take a year and a half to find and coach good provincial politicians. But what if the government resigns earlier and the elections come sooner? “If the government resigns tomorrow, we will be ready for it. We have dozens of good people standing by prepared.”