Rise of Geert wilders’ PVV party in the Netherlands reminds us of the rise of extremism in Bosnia
In the current election cycle in the Netherlands the response is fairly lukewarm to the expected election victory of Geert Wilders’ rightwing-populist Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) – recent polls indicate 30 to 35 seats in the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament after the elections on March 15th, 2017. This is despite the fact that Wilders’ program does not offer any policies on and solutions for socio-economic problems, and groups in society are being incited against each other. That reminds us of the extreme-nationalist leaders in the former Yugoslavia on the eve of the war in Bosnia in 1992: they too had no solutions for the economy, and simply put the blame on other ethnic groups. The Netherlands is not Bosnia, and Wilders is no Karadzic, but any implementation of Wilders’ programme will gravely disrupt Dutch society.
Extreme nationalism devastated Bosnia
Comparisons always relative, but one can also learn from history. We see similarities between the rise of the PVV in the Netherlands and the rise of extreme nationalist parties in Bosnia during the early 1990s. As in the Netherlands different communities lived in Bosnia pretty well together for years (indeed decades), but nationalist leaders incited them against each other.