Monday, April 23, 2012

Dutch populist Geert Wilders bets on anti-euro vote

(Reuters) - Dutch populist Geert Wilders, who gained prominence denouncing Islam and railing against immigrants, is betting his political future on the anti-euro vote.

Wilders pulled out of critical budget austerity talks with the government on Saturday, saying the Netherlands should not bow to Brussels' directives.

Wilders, 48, was kingmaker when the last government was formed in 2010; his Freedom Party is the third-largest in parliament and provided the coalition with a majority.

In withdrawing his support, he relinquished his position as the most influential politician outside the government and is set on going for real power in the next elections, which could be held as early as June.

The move threw a core euro zone member already struggling to deal with recession and EU demands for budget cuts into a political crisis, and is a huge gamble for Wilders given that his party has slipped in opinion polls.

The most recent polls suggest that Wilders, who stands out in any political line-up thanks to his peroxide blonde bouffant hair, would probably not be able to join the cabinet. Read More