The anti-Islam PVV plans to field candidates in 60 of the Netherlands 390 local authority areas at next year’s local elections, party leader Geert Wilders says in Wednesday’s AD.
The PVV will concentrate its efforts in areas where it has considerable support, such as Spijkenisse and Schiedam near Rotterdam, Edam-Volendam and cities like Dordrecht, Arnhem, Rotterdam and Den Bosch. Amsterdam, where the PVV polled just 7% support in the recent general election, is not on the list. The PVV currently only has local councilors in Almere and The Hague.
Wilders told the paper the time is ripe for the next step.
"‘This is a gigantic move, but if you are the second biggest party in the Netherlands, you have obligations,’ he said, referring to the fact that the PVV came second to the VVD in March. The PVV will stand in places where it has performed well and where ‘well-qualified candidates’ have come forward", he said.
Local candidates will be able to write their own election manifestos, he said, and will be supervised by party leaders in the provincial councils. The list will be finalised in June.
Suitable candidates Wilders has always been reluctant to get really involved in local elections because of the shortage of suitable councillors.
The PVV does have representatives on all the provincial councils but has run into trouble with some. One councillor in Noord-Holland was arrested for drink driving, while one in Limburg was sacked for describing a Labour councillor as a ‘piece of vomited up halal meat’.
‘You cannot grow without mistakes but we want a much broader party,’ Wilders told the AD. ‘I am not going to let a fear of problems stand in the way of growth.’
However, Wilders again said he had no plans to turn the PVV into a proper political party with members. ‘That is not going to happen,’ he said.