- Party for Freedom
party_name = Party for Freedom
party_wikicolourid = PVV
22 February, 2006
split = VVD
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National conservatism Conservative liberalism Liberal conservatism Euroscepticism
nationalism Right-wing populism
position = Right
Red, Whiteand Blue
website = [http://www.pvv.nl/ www.pvv.nl]
The Party for Freedom ( _nl. Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) is a Dutch conservative political party. It is led by
Geert Wilders, who was the only representative in Dutch parliament of the forerunner of the party, the "Group Wilders" faction. The party won nine seats in the 2006 general election, making it the fifth largest party in parliament, and third largest opposition party.
The party's history starts with Geert Wilders' departure from the
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy(VVD) in September 2004. Wilders could not reconcile himself with the VVD positive stance towards Turkey's possible accession to the European Union, and left the party disgruntled.
Although the VVD would have expected Wilders to return his parliamentary seat to the party, Wilders refused, and continued to sit in parliament as a one-man faction, "Groep Wilders" (Group Wilders).
In June 2005, Wilders was one of the leaders in the campaign against the European Constitution, that was rejected by Dutch voters by 62%. [cite news|title= Dutch say 'No' to EU constitution|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4601439.stm|publisher=
BBC News|date= 2005-06-02] Bart Jan Spruyt, director of the conservative " Edmund Burke Foundation", joined the party in January 2006, in order to formulate a party programme and to train its prospective representatives for the upcoming national election (then still scheduled for 2007). [nl iconcite news|title=Spruyt sluit zich aan bij Geert Wilders|url=http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel/asp/artnr/80582/zoeken/ja/index.html|publisher=Elsevier|date= 2006-01-04] Spruyt left the party in the summer of 2006, after it proved unable to provide for a greater conservative movement behind it, and people like Joost Eerdmansand Marco Pastorswere unwilling to join the party. [nl iconcite news|title= „Historische kans voorbij”|url=http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1271047|publisher= Reformatorisch Dagblad|date= 2006-08-17] After the 2006 elections, Spruyt said he wasn't surprised that the Party for Freedom won seats in the election, but he maintains that if the Party for Freedom sought this cooperation with Eerdmans and Pastors, the party would have won more seats, even enough so to help a possible CDA-VVD cabinet to a majority. [nl iconcite news|title=Spruyt: Negeren van Wilders onverstandig|url=http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1282578/Spruyt%3A+Negeren+van+Wilders+onverstandig.html|publisher= Reformatorisch Dagblad|date= 2006-11-23] Later, Spruyt commented that the PVV had a 'natural tendency' toward fascism. [nl iconcite news|title=Weimar in aanbouw (deel 1)|url=http://bartjanspruyt.blogspot.com/2007/01/weimar-in-aanbouw-deel-1.html|publisher=Bart J. Spruyt|date= 2007-01-01] He later qualified the statement, though he didn't withdraw it. Former PVV candidate Lucas Hartongcalled Spruyt's claims 'a cheap insinuation'. [nl iconcite news|title=Het is me wat!|url=http://www.hetvrijevolk.com/?pagina=2295&titel=Het_is_me_wat|publisher=Lucas Hartong|date= 2007-01-02]
HP/De Tijdprofile dated December 2006 the party was described as a cult, with an extremely distrustful Wilders only accepting fellow candidates completely loyal to him, and compared to the SP led by Jan Marijnissenbut without reaching that degree of organizational perfection.nl icon "Haagse Sekte" Alain van der Horst, Kirsten Munk, Joost Niemoller HP/De TijdDecember 1 2006]
On January 10 2007, the PVV declared not to field candidates for the upcoming Provincial elections, this will also lead to the party being unrepresented in the Upper House of Parliament, de
Eerste Kamer. [nl iconcite news|title= „Partij Wilders doet niet mee aan Statenverkiezingen" |url=http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article386300.ece/Partij_Wilders_doet_niet_mee_aan_Statenverkiezingen|publisher= Volkskrant|date= 2007-01-10]
On January 13 2007
NRC Handelsbladreported that a PVV intern had solicited for signatures on the website forums "Dutch Disease Report" and "Polinco", the latter forum being described as far rightby various organizations, among them the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet. [nl icon [http://www.meldpunt.nl/dl/mdi-jaarverslag-2003.pdf MDI jaarverslag 2003] ] Any party participating in this election was required to collect at least 30 signatures of party supporters in each of the 19 election districts; of the 1500 signatures the PVV received, the Dutch Antifa group identified 34 known far right supporters. In a response, Wilders said he regretted that far right sympathizers provided signatures, claimed no personal responsibility for the soliciting and repeated his dislike for far-right parties like Front National and Vlaams Belang[nl icon NRC HandelsbladJanuary 13 2007 "PVV riep steun van extreem-rechts in" [http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article598698.ece/PVV_riep_steun_van_extreem-rechts_in Link] ] . [nl icon TrouwJanuary 13 2007 "Wilders ontkent oproep tot steun extreem rechts" [http://www.trouw.nl/laatstenieuws/laatstenieuws/article598962.ece/Wilders_ontkent_oproep_tot_steun_extreem_rechts Link] ] [nl icon VolkskrantJanuary 15 2007 "Extreem-rechtse steun verdriet Wilders" [http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article387621.ece/Extreem-rechtse_steun_verdriet_Wilders] ] Noted writer and columnist Leon de Winterlater declared the affair to be the result of a campaign of demonizationagainst Geert Wilders led by NRC Handelsbladand Volkskrantnewspapers, as well as the VARA (broadcaster). [nl icon ElsevierJanuary 15 2007 "De demonisering van Geert Wilders" [http://www.elsevier.nl/opinie/weblog/asp/artnr/134700/weblogid/4/index.html] ]
Former labour union leader and prominent Christian Democrat Doekle Terpstra proposed an initiative against Geert Wilders and the PVV on November 30, 2007, in newspaper "
Trouw". [cite news | author = Doekle Terpstra | title = ’Nee’ tegen kwade boodschap Wilders | url = http://www.trouw.nl/deverdieping/podium/article856996.ece/Nee_tegen_kwade_boodschap_Wilders_opinie | publisher = Trouw | date = 2007-11-30| accessdate = 2007-12-04] Terpstra sees Wilders as promoting discrimination against Muslims and intolerance. He is supported in his cause by the large Dutch trade unions and refugee organizations. Politicians and the public are divided on Terpstra's initiative. [cite news | title = Dutch show mixed reactions to anti-Muslim party | url = http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/071204-freedom-party-mc | publisher = Radio Netherlands | date = 2007-12-04| accessdate = 2007-12-04] Newspaper " De Pers" reported the next day that much of Terpstra's support did not actualize. [cite news | title = Tekort aan redelijke positivo’s | url = http://www.depers.nl/binnenland/135616/Tekort-aan-redelijke-positivos.html | publisher = De Pers | date = 2007-12-05| accessdate = 2007-12-05]
The Party for Freedom combines economic liberalism with a conservative programme towards immigration and culture. The party seeks tax cuts (€16 billion in the 2006 election programme), de-centralization, abolition of the minimum wage, and limiting child benefits and government subsidies. Towards immigration and culture, the party believes that the
Judeo-Christianand humanist traditions should be treated as the dominant culture in the Netherlands, and that immigrants should adapt accordingly. The party wants a halt to immigration from non-western countries. It is skeptical towards the EU project, is against future EU enlargement with countries like Turkey and opposes the presence of Islam in the Netherlands. The party is also opposed to dual citizenship(see below).
In February 2007, PVV parliamentarian Fritsma introduced a motion that would have prohibited any parliamentarian or executive branch politician from having dual citizenship. The PVV claims that it is unclear where someone's loyalty lies when one has two nationalities; the motion would have made it difficult if not impossible for Labour MPs
Ahmed Aboutaleband Nebahat Albayrakto become members of the new government. The motion had to be retracted though, after heavy pressure from the chairman of parliament, Gerdi Verbeet (Labour Party). [nl iconcite news|title=MPs unimpressed with motion from PVV|url=http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=1&story_id=36615|publisher=Expatica|date= 2007-02-16] University of Maastrichtlaw professor Twan Tak sees a risk in executive branch officials having dual citizenship, and was angered by Verbeet's insistence to close the debate. [nl iconcite news|title='Smoren discussie dubbel paspoort schandalig'|url=http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel/asp/artnr/139517/index.html|publisher=Elsevier|date= 2007-02-15] Despite, the PVV planned to call for a vote of no confidence against junior ministers Aboutaleb and Albayrak when the new cabinet had its first meeting with parliament. [en iconcite news|title=Dutch politician doubts Muslim ministers' loyalty|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL242937120070224|publisher= Reuters|date= 2007-02-24] Although the parliamentary motion in the end was only supported by the PVV itself [en iconcite news|title=Opposition criticises cabinet in debate|url=http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=37138|publisher= Expatica|date= 2007-03-01] .
The issue of dual nationality however, was not over yet. On March 2,
Radio Netherlandsreported that Labour Party MP Khadiya Arib, who was just sworn into parliament the day before, is sitting in a Moroccancommission appointed by the Moroccan king. [en iconcite news|title=Dutch MP to serve as advisor to Moroccan king|url=http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/dut070302mc|publisher= Radio Netherlands|date= 2007-03-02] The PVV held that this commission work by Arib endangers her loyalty to the Netherlands, and that she should choose between being a parliamentarian and sitting in that commission. Geert Wilders said it was shameful that Arib said on national television that her loyalty lies neither in Holland, nor Morocco. [nl iconcite news|title=Kamer akkoord met Marokkaans advieswerk Arib|url=http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel/asp/artnr/142650/index.html|publisher=Elsevier|date= 2007-03-08] The liberal VVD had also problems with Arib's work, saying that her "double orientation would hurt Dutch integration." [nl iconcite news|title=Kamp: Nevenfunctie Arib schaadt integratie|url=http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1294450/Kamp:+Nevenfunctie+Arib+schaadt+integratie.html|publisher= Reformatorisch Dagblad|date= 2007-03-08] All other parties were appalled by the PVV and VVD's behaviour. [nl iconcite news|title=Lange dag in de Kamer met veel hatelijkheden|url=http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article653841.ece/Lange_dag_in_de_Kamer_met_veel_hatelijkheden|publisher= NRC Handelsblad|date= 2007-03-09]
In 2007, the party supported the (unsuccessful) parliamentary motion that would remove the moratorium on embryonic stem cell research.
The party fielded a controversial motion in the 2007 "algemene beschouwingen" of the immigration budget, that called for a stop of immigration from Muslim countries. Parliament at first would not move to bring the motion up for discussion. Justice minister
Ernst Hirsch Ballinsaid the motion was in violation of the Dutch constitution and international law. [cite news | title = Minister: Wilders' moslimmotie is onmogelijk | url = http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/laatste_24_uur/artikel/asp/artnr/180515/ | publisher = Elsevier | date = 2007-11-22| accessdate = 2007-11-23] Another motion by the PVV, that found it undesirable for police agents to wear veils, did find a parliamentary majority. [cite news | title = 'Agente met hoofddoek absoluut onwenselijk' | url = http://www.nu.nl/news/1342274/11/%27Agente_met_hoofddoek_absoluut_onwenselijk%27.html | publisher = Nu.nl | date = 2007-12-04| accessdate = 2007-12-04]
Wilders has also put forth the idea that the Netherlands should open up its own "
Guantanamo Bay" that would detain people which the intelligence service sees as a security threat, somewhat akin to the Israeli administrative detention. [cite news | title = Wilders wil Nederlandse Guantanamo | url = http://www.ad.nl/binnenland/article1777438.ece | publisher = Algemeen Dagblad | date = 2007-10-26| accessdate = 2007-11-23]
The name "Party for Freedom" (Partij voor de Vrijheid) was chosen in order to refer to the Freedom Party (Partij van de Vrijheid), a Dutch political party founded just after the Second World War which eventually merged with a faction of social-liberal dissidents from the PvdA, led by Pieter Oud, to become the VVD in 1948. [nl iconcite news|title=Groep Wilders wordt Partij voor de Vrijheid|url=http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel/asp/artnr/88062/index.html|publisher=Elsevier|date=
Election results (2006-)
Members of the Tweede Kamer
After the 2006 elections the party has 9 representatives in the Dutch House of Representatives, chosen are:
Geert Wilders- parliamentary chairman
* Fleur Agema, the only female representative, formerly an LPF member and provincial representative for this party, critical of the way subsidies are spent
Raymond de Roon, a prosecutorresponsible for crime-fighting policies
Hero Brinkman, Amsterdam policeman, nicknamed "Rambo of the Bellamybuurt" [ [http://www.parlement.com/9291000/bio/03099 H. Brinkman - Parlement.com] ]
Martin Bosma- party secretary, media background worked for CNN, ABC News, NOS Newsand RTL News
Dion Graus, former car salesman and sales representative in veterinary products. NRC Handelsbladalleged on December 10 2006 he had a history of unpaid bills, fraud, lawsuits, disgruntled employers and abusive relations with women [ [http://www.nrc.nl/krant/article569094.ece/Nooit_veroordeeld_Ik_ben_binnen_de_partij_de_enige_echte_hartsvriend_van_Geert NRC article on disputed background of Dion Graus] "Nooit Veroordeeld" (Never convicted) NRC HandelsbladDecember 10 2006 ] . The Dutch justice department later reported that three counts filed against Graus were dismissed [ [http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article591616.ece/Zaken_tegen_Graus_waren_geseponeerd] "Zaken tegen Graus waren geseponeerd", NRC Handelsblad] . In addition, the Volkskranton January 27 2007 found several NRC allegation lacking substance (bills paid for after all) and also reported that Graus had the full confidence of party leader Wilders [nl icon VolkskrantJanuary 27 2007 "Graus pareert de zwaarste aanvallen" [http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article391649.ece/Graus_pareert_de_zwaarste_aanvallen Link] ] .
Barry Madlener, formerly city council member of Leefbaar Rotterdamwith a background in real estate
Teun van Dijck, financial specialist with background in consultancy, Kindergartenbuddy of Wilders .
Sietse Fritsma, former civil servant with Immigration background
Given that the party is still a relatively young political organisation, its 2006 electoral results can be regarded as quite remarkable, giving the party more seats in the House of Representatives than well-established parties such as
GreenLeft, Democrats 66and ChristianUnion. Its surprisingly rapid rise in popularity also caught many political pundits off guard, especially as the pre-election polls were predominantly predicting a gain of no more than 6 seats.Fact|date=November 2007
In the past (
2007-10-06) the party was riding a wave of popularity, with some polls even putting it ahead of the Labour Party (Netherlands), indicating it would win 24 seats. [nl iconcite news|title=PVV verslaat PvdA in peiling|url=http://www.nieuws.nl/480923|publisher= nieuws.nl|date= 2007-09-30] . Popularity has since dropped to an estimated 11 seats.
Possible explanation for its current political fortune could be disenchantment towards the newly formed Government,
Fourth Balkenende cabinet, and the PVV's backing of a referendumon the ratification by The Netherlandsof the European Constitutionin its current proposed form, which is a hot topic in Dutch politics at the moment. The majority of voters support such a referendum[nl iconcite news|title=Nieuw Referendum EU|url=http://www.peil.nl/?2340|publisher=Peil.nl] .
* [http://pvv.nl Home page of Partij voor de Vrijheid]
* [http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?channel_id=1&story_id=12536 Expatica - 'Turkey in the EU? Never!]
* [http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/Moroccans-want-Wilders-prosecuted.html Expatica - Moroccans want Wilders prosecuted]
* [http://www.pvv.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=3&Itemid=6 Party For Freedom in the press]
* [http://www.groepwilders.com/ Party For Freedom in English]
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