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LIBERAL DISASTER: Prosecution of Wilders BACKFIRES as Dutch populist leader soars in polls

THE LIBERAL elite’s decision to prosecute Dutch populist leader Geert Wilders for hate speech spectacularly backfired today as his anti-immigrant party soared to a commanding lead in the polls.

Voters have rallied to the Freedom Party (PVV) after its controversial chief was convicted for saying there were “too many Moroccans” in the Netherlands in a case critics had feared would only boost his popularity.His party has opened up a daunting nine point gap on its rivals, putting it on track to scoop 36 out of the Dutch parliament’s 150 seats in next Spring’s elections.

Geert WildersREUTERS

Geert Wilders’ party has soared in the polls following his hate speech trial


The bombshell poll, released by the Maurice de Hond Institute yesterday, is the first indication of how voters will react to the controversial decision to prosecute Mr Wilders under discrimination laws.And it will send shockwaves through Brussels, which is already reeling from the loss of europhile Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and which is facing a year of crunch elections which could finish the bloc for good.

A seats projection based on the pollTwitter/@EuropeElects

The Freedom Party are on course to become the biggest party in the Dutch parliament


Geert Wilders at his trialEPA

Mr Wilders has courted controversy with his incendiary remarks on Islam


On Friday Mr Wilders was found guilty of insulting a specific group of people and inciting discrimination, but was cleared of the more serious crime of hate speech, with three judges deciding not to impose any punishment.The field work for the poll was carried out during his trial, which the far-right leader described as “insanity”, but before he was controversially found guilty.

In a tweet after the verdict Mr Wilders said that the “elite”, including Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, had prosecuted him out of “panic”, adding: “It just makes me and the PVV stronger. Suckers.”

And reacting to yesterday’s poll, he added: “The Dutch people will acquit me on election day.”

The Dutch people will acquit me on election day

Geert Wilders

In the last poll before the trial began, the PVV was predicted to take 27 seats in the Dutch parliament with 18 per cent of the vote.But Mr Wilder’s popularity has soared during his controversial trial whilst the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), led by Mr Rutte, has slumped to just 15 per cent and left wing parties are facing electoral oblivion.

Such a result on March 15 would leave the PVV in a hugely strong position to form a coalition Government, making it by far the largest party in the country.

The anti-Islam leader was put on trial over his remarks at an election rally in 2014, when he asked asked supporters whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands”.

When the crowd chanted back “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Mr Wilders smiled and replied: “We’re going to take care of that.”

During his trial prosecutors read out statements from Dutch-Moroccans, who make up around two per cent of the country’s population, and who said his comments had left them feeling like “third-rate citizens”.But Mr Wilders hit back, saying that the trial was a farce and that “millions of Dutch are sick and tired of political correctness, sick and tired of the elite which only cares about itself and ignores the ordinary Dutchman”.

The Dutch populist chief has repeatedly courted controversy with his remarks on Islam, which have included plans to ban Muslim migration, confiscate Korans and shut mosques and Islamic schools.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/742456/Geert-Wilders-Dutch-populist-Freedom-Party-polls-hate-speech-trial

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