Published: Tue, January 24, 2017
Research | By Kayla Price

'If you don't like it here, then leave' - Dutch PM declares

'If you don't like it here, then leave' - Dutch PM declares

People shouldn't label "ordinary Dutch people" as racists for defending their values, the Prime Minister said.

While Mr Rutte's message does not mention Mr Wilders or his Party for Freedom, it is clearly aimed at voters who back the right-wing politician's hard-line platform. There can be parallels drawn with the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the recent U.S. presidential election, where immigration, and a demand simply for change, led to both huge political shocks, that will have ramifications for years to come. In an interview with a Dutch newspaper he called it freakish that some people refused to shake hands with women.

The tough new Rutte campaign message appeared in adverts in several leading newspapers and an interview in the Dutch tabloid, Algemeen Dagblad (AD) adding that people who come to the Netherlands for freedom but then "reject our values" should leave.

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In an open letter to the citizens of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte advised those who don't want to respect the country's customs to leave. That's a choice you have, isn't it? National elections are set to take place in the Netherlands on 15 March. With elections around the corner, polls show PVV has the edge over the VVD.

Wilders, who spoke on Saturday at a meeting in Germany of Europe's far-right populist leaders, was found guilty in December of insulting and inciting discrimination against Moroccans but is appealing against the conviction, which he called "shameful".

Mr Wilders slammed Mr Rutte's letter as disingenuous on Twitter. Among observers, however, the prime minister's message was widely interpreted as an attempt to appeal to Wilders's supporters ahead of an increasingly competitive election. "It is thinly veiled nativism, completely ignoring the anti-refugees violence, physical and verbal, by natives that the country has experienced in the past years", Mudde said. Wilders also suggested that Rutte was being hypocritical, as he was "the man of open borders, the asylum tsunami, mass immigration, Islamization, lies and deception".

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