With days to go before the Dutch general election on March 15 the Islamophobe Geert Wilders still stands a genuine chance of becoming the next Prime Minister.
A recent poll shows that five parties could finish first and a staggering 40 percent of the electorate is yet to make up its mind.
And even if Wilders fails to win, it looks increasingly as though the eventual winner may have to seriously consider a coalition with his Freedom Party.
The right-winger, who openly says he has a problem with Islam, wants to stop all Muslim immigration, ditch the Euro and reimpose national borders.
Opposing him, current Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he wants to be the leader to “halt the spread of populism.” And the current leader insists he will win in the final push.
A total of 28 parties are contesting the election, with as many as 14 expected to win seats. To avoid the Freedom Party being in Government, other groups could form a five party coalition, but power struggles could mean it is not stable.
Mr Wilders told reporters in Amsterdam that it will be “very hard” to shut out the Freedom Party on that basis.
Meanwhile, 62 Muslim organisations in the Netherlands, mainly mosques, have issued a joint statement urging their followers to use their vote in next week’s election. Imams are also reinforcing the message in Friday prayers.
“Voting is something a Muslim cannot ignore,” the statement said. It added that by not voting, the Muslim presence in The Netherlands could be disadvantaged and boost parties which want to “limit the rights and freedoms of specific Muslims and encourage racism and discrimination.”
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