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Dutch MP Wilders goes to Rome for Free Speech award Feb 19

By Adriana Stuijt     Feb 16, 2009 in Politics
A new poll shows massive voter approval for anti-jihadist Dutch MP Geert Wilders - his party would become the country's second biggest. And Wilders was awarded the Oriana Fallaci Free Speech Award, which he receives in Rome on February 19.
The latest weekly poll by top Dutch pollster Maurice de Hond - historically known for his accuracy -- said if the Dutch were to hold an election now, Wilders' Party for Freedom would gain yet another two seats.
Wilders' party is the only one in The Netherlands which does not receive any of the usual government-subsidies for political parties -- and all their expenses are carried by their own members. This week they are starting a countrywide voter-registration and fund-raising campaign.
His party would win 25 seats with his current approval rating -- and thus would become the country's second-largest political party. His party now holds nine seats. He started as a one-man party after breaking away as MP for the liberal VVD-party several years ago. With his popularity showing such a meteoric rise, there are widespread fears that, if a new election were to be held now, he would not be able to field enough candidates. He's advertising for 'new talent' on the party website for this reason - but also warns that they will be carefully screened.
The country's largest party, the Christian Democrats (CDA) of premier Peter-Jan Balkenende would also lose one parliamentary seat, and thus drop down to 27 seats. De Hond's opinion polls have proven to be eerily accurate over the years.
The poll participants were asked to reply to three yes/no questions; i.e. should Wilders not have travelled to the UK; was he correct to go; or undecided. Very few of the respondents were undecided - with the highest percentage of fence-sitters a full 10% among the Socialist Party members.
One slight surprise: the liberal VVD party - which Wilders had originally left as MP to form his own one-man party only five years ago over a policy disagreement -- showed that a full 72% of the questioned VVD voters also approved of his flight to the UK. Thus his voter support base is seen to grow steadily.
De Hond's poll also indicates that with the overwhelming approval rating of Wilder's decision to travel to the UK, there would a very large chance that many of the liberal VVD members, 45%, would also vote for Wilders if an election were to be held this week. See poll here - in Dutch:
De Hond's poll indicates that 84% of the participants in his latest weekly survey were against the UK's decision to ban Wilders from Great Britain last Thursday.
And this opinion was even held amongst 21% of the Dutch labour party members participating in the poll. This co-ruling coalition partner with the christian-democrats and the liberals are among Wilders' most vociferous opponents, since they draw the largest number of Dutch-muslim voters. Even among this highly critical group, support for Wilders' stance is growing.
Wilders had been invited to show his anti-jihadist film 'Fitna' for a small group of peers in the House of Lords . When Muslim peer Nazir Ahmed objected - and threatened to hold an illegal protest meeting with 10,000 Muslims at the House of Lords, the UK cabinet caved in and wrote Wilders a letter, telling him he would not be welcome in the UK because his views 'would pose a security risk'.
UK readers and newspaper editors also were scathing about their government's decision, and their editorials today show that they also felt that Wilders was correct to confront their government by travelling to the UK from the Netherlands in a last-ditch attempt to have them change their minds -- also see
The News of the World's headline reads: "PC cowards to Geert a grip', The Sunday Sun: "MP Geert Wilders victim of extremist prejudice; 'The Times online: "Labour bares its appeaser's teeth to unbending Muslims'; The Independent: "Free speech has to be for all, Home Secretary', The Telegraph: "Banned politician Geert Wilders brands Gordon Brown a coward', and the Jihad Watch: "Britain's muslim peer crows over barring of Wilders from country.'
Most vociferous in their condemnation of their own cabinet 's decision was the United Kingdom Independence Party, whose peers had invited Wilders. See their video above.
Wilders receives Oriana Fallaci Free Speech Award in Italy
It has meanwhile just been announced in Italy that Wilders was invited to that country on February 19, where he will be given the Oriana Fallaci Free Speech award.
"This honour will recognise that this parliamentarian, like the late Italian author and journalist Oriana Fallaci, is a “symbol of the fight against Islamic fascism and a knight of the freedom of humankind”, their organisers said.
Fallaci, a young partican fighting Mussolini's fascists during WWII, became a celebrated journalist after the war. And after retirement, she returned to the spotlight with a series of articles and books critical of Islam and Arabs, such as The Rage and The Pride, and The Force of Reason.
The award ceremony will be held at the Grand Palatino Hotel in Via Cavour 213, Rome, Italy. For security reasons, the conference is being restricted to those who have received invitations only.
Wilder's film Fitna also will next be screened in smaller gatherings throughtout the United States later this month, including assemblies in the New York and Washington, DC areas. see
Last month he was also voted Man of the Year by the David Horowitz foundation in New York. see
More about Geert wilders, Banned from, Fallaci free speech, Man year horowitz, Popularity soars netherlands
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