PVV leader Wilders on trial

A trial against Geert Wilders, the leader of the xenophobic Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), began on Monday in Amsterdam. He is accused of inciting hatred because of a speech in which he made derogative remarks about Moroccans. The Dutch press comments on the trial and asks how the Netherlands should deal with Wilders.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Laugh in Wilders' face!

Wilders must be fought with political rather than legal weapons, writes columnist Bert Wagendorp in De Volkskrant:

“His incessant tirades against certain segments of the population are in poor taste, but he is within his democratic rights. At least as long as he doesn't try to incite violence. 'Incitement to hatred' and 'discrimination' are flexible terms. At what point do verbal attacks against people with different beliefs become incitement? … Tolerance is not really something that can be enshrined in the law. The minorities Wilders is attacking won't be helped by this trial - and much less by a conviction. On the contrary. It doesn't help their cause when they cast themselves as victims of Wilders' tirades or of the pathetic losers who support him. They must be tough in their reaction, ignore him, laugh at him, right in his pale face.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

PVV's leadership is authoritarian

At the heart of the problem the Netherlands is now facing with Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) is its profoundly undemocratic character, columnist Tom-Jan Meeus concludes in NRC Handelsblad:

“The PVV is not democratic. All the authority resides in a single member. There is never any opposition or any controls. With the result that a party lacking in internal balance could become the strongest political force [in the parliamentary election in March] in 2017. Because unlike Germany for example, we never incorporated a clause in our constitution saying that parties themselves must be democratic to be allowed to run in parliamentary elections. … And it is strange how easily the other parties are letting Wilders get away with this. We are perilously close to disaster.”