To the surprise of many, the results for Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) in last Thursday's European elections in the Netherlands were disappointing. Wilders blamed the low voter turnout and the fact that his voters were not interested in the elections for the European Parliament (EP). He may have a point. A poll taken on Thursday shows that the PVV would have done much better in national elections for the Dutch Parliament. But there are also indications of the opposite. Wilders did very well in the previous European elections five years ago. Voter turnout was equally low then, but Wilders' voters did show up despite their lack of interest in the European Union.
So the question remains: Why did the voters, while remaining loyal to Wilders, fail to turn out last Thursday?
Five years ago, Wilders promised his voters that he would not align himself with any foreign parties in the EP. This time, however, he went to the European elections in coalition with the French Front National [FN] of Marine Le Pen. Having met Ms Le Pen, Wilders says he is convinced that she wants to break with the anti-Semitic past of her party. Wilders, who is one of Israel's most outspoken supporters in Europe, said, "Marine Le Pen is not her father. She is not anti-Semitic. She cares about France, its identity and its sovereignty."