A proposed advertisement for Geert Wilders’s Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) would see Rotterdam trams wrapped with “Stop Islam” stickers as the nation prepares to vote in the 2017 general election.
With five weeks to go until the Netherlands votes, the PVV has approached the Rotterdam public transit authority RET with a proposal for the tram-side advertisement, which features window-filling decals of Mr. Wilders’s face and large signs reading “Stop Islam”, and “Vote March 15th for PVV”.
A spokesman for the transit company told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad that while they had received the proposed designs, which Mr. Wilders has circulated on social media, they would not allow them to appear on their trams. The company said: “We do not work with politically tinged statements. We never do.”
Despite that, Mr. Wilders said in a statement: “It would be fantastic if this tram drives through the streets of Rotterdam soon!”
Approached Rotterdam municipal tramways with offer to buy ads on their trams. Hopefully soon to be seen on the rails! pic.twitter.com/JnfJj601NV
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) February 2, 2017
Whether the Stop Islam trams are seen on the streets of the Netherland’s second city or not, Mr. Wilders’santi-masss migration PVV are set to emerge as the largest party on March 15th. This is a significant development following his performance in the 2012 election where a loss of 9 seats saw the Party for Freedom relegated to third place.
With just five weeks to go until polling day and near daily opinion polls being released by Dutch media, the popularity of all parties are seen to fluctuate with methodology but the PVV remains firmly in the lead, standing ahead by up to 13 points.
While the Dutch political system favours many small parties and prevents any one group from forming a government, a strong showing for Mr. Wilders could see him enter government as prime minister in coalition with the centre-right conservative Mark Rutte, the present prime minister.
Mr. Rutte has recently ruled out the possibility of a coalition with Wilders in a piece of pre-election positioning as he moves to win back support of right-wing voters who might be tempted by Mr. Wilders’s strong populist positions. Despite that, Prime Minister Rutte’s likely weakened position after the election could see a broad coalition of left-wing parties able to form a minority government if he refuses to share power with Mr. Wilders.
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