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Anti-immigrant and Europhobic - far right parties ride populist wave
By Ian Traynor, guardian.co.uk

In Europe's biggest port, where nearly half the population of 600,000 is of immigrant origin, Geert Wilders appears to be knocking on an open door.

The platinum-blond, Islam-baiting populist is soaring in opinion surveys in the Netherlands, hammering the anti-immigration message to double his ratings this year to the point where his Freedom party is challenging to be the strongest in the country, according to a leading weekly tracking poll.

Wilders' acolytes are also poised to enter the European parliament for the first time after elections for the EU's sole democratically elected institution, covering 375 million people across 27 countries, take place next week...

Wilders' success represents, in part, a souring of traditional Dutch enthusiasm for the EU. It also appears symptomatic of a broader insurrectionary mood across Europe that is expected to favour extremists, ­mavericks and populists in the voting taking place over four days from next Thursday. Overt racism and the calculated use of Nazi language are featuring in what is otherwise a lacklustre campaign.

by Magnifico on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:38:27 PM EST
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