Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is Geert Wilders is the Most Powerful Man in Holland?

While Geert Wilders won't be Holland's next Prime Minister for the moment he is the most powerful man in the Netherlands.

Last night, Dutch voters ousted Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats after eight years in office.

The Balkenende government fell last February when the Dutch Parliament could not agree on extending the deployment of troops in Afghanistan. After the election results came in, Balkenende resigned as party leader as well as his seat in parliament.

Wilders' Freedom Party won 24 seats in the new Dutch Parliament. Wilders stated, "More security, less crime, less immigration, less Islam -- that is what the Netherlands has chosen."
Only the Liberals and Labor Party won more seats with 31 and 30, respectively.

Wilders is being touted as a potential kingmaker. However, it is also not inconceivable that the Liberals and Labor could form a coalition with either the ousted Christian Democrats or with the smaller left-wing parties (Socialists and Democrats 66) and leave Wilders out in the cold. But that could be to his benefit if a new coalition does not properly address the country's currently dire fiscal situation and forces another election.

I had the opportunity to meet Wilders when he spoke in the Boston area in February 2009.

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