Why The Netherlands are increasingly in favour of strict immigration policies

Why The Netherlands are increasingly in favour of strict immigration policies

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Joost Van Spanje, an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam, said a large minority of the population were increasingly in favour of strict immigration policies.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, the communications and journalism professor argued the electorate started leaning towards the right-wing back in the mid-1990s.

He also said that the Netherlands is slowly turning against a multicultural society as Mr Wilders Party for Freedom continues to grow in support.

Mr Van Spanje said: “At least since the mid-90s a large minority of voters are very much against a multicultural society and very much in favour of immigration restriction.”

Adding that growing discontent was also looming in other European countries, he continued: “So in that sense the potential has been there for some time in the Netherlands and quite possible also in other western European countries.”

Mr Van Spanje’s remarks come as leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), Mr Wilders may become the next Dutch Prime Minister as he continues to surge in popularity.

In an end-of-year poll, an amalgamation of data from five of the country’s leading pollsters, showed the Eurosceptic MP, who was found guilty of inciting discrimination against Dutch Moroccans in December, would win 31-37 seats in the 150-seat parliament.

This would give his anti-immigrant, anti-EU party the support of 20-25 percent of the electorate.

Mr Wilders’ growing popularity follows his pledged to close down mosques, ban the Koran and hold a referendum on the country’s European Union membership if he wins the general election on March 15.

Before Christmas, Mr Wilders wrote an article for US think tank the Gatestone Institute, where he warned Europe was unprepared for the scale of terror attacks it would face in 2017.

In addition to accusing politicians of failing to prosecute criminals falsely seeking asylum, the right-wing MP, said: “There is little doubt that 2017 will bring Germany and the entire West more violence, more attacks on our women and daughters, more bloodshed, more tears, more sorrow.

“The terrible truth is that, in all likelihood, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

“We have to drive politicians, such as Angela Merkel, my own weak Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and their like-minded colleagues in other countries, from power.