Poll: Minority of Dutch Population Support Wilders Trial

Poll: Minority of Population Support Wilders Trial

AMSTERDAM, 24/01/09 – Exactly half of the Dutch are opposed to Wednesday’s decision of the appeal court in Amsterdam to prosecute MP Geert Wilders. A minority considers it right that he should be charged with incitement to hatred, discrimination and insulting Muslims as a group, pollster Maurice de Hond reported Friday.

The court made the right decision, in the view of 43 percent. Fifty percent disagreed and 7 percent had no opinion. The highest level of support for prosecuting the MP, leader of the party for Freedom (PVV) was found among those who votes in 2006 for the leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) and Labour (PvdA), at 68 and 60 percent respectively.

Of all those polled, 66 percent consider that in general, MPs can exceed the boundaries of free speech when they are outside parliament – they have parliamentary immunity inside – and that prosecution should be possible in such cases. A third (33 percent) did not think MPs should ever be prosecuted for anything they say, and 1 percent had no opinion.

De Hond also asked whether respondents agreed with the court’s opinion that Wilders’ statements are aimed at “causing discord among the Dutch in connection with the Islamic community, to provoke the Dutch population to discrimination, intolerance, contempt and enmity towards believers and to stir up fear of them”. In answer, 49 percent said ‘no’ and 48 percent ‘yes’. A question on whether Wilders’ statements are ‘detrimental to the dignity of Muslims’ elicited an almost identical response (48:48).

De Hond reported that 54 percent want an acquittal for Wilders. About 17 percent hope for a suspended community service sentence, 12 percent for a (real) community service sentence, 6 percent for a prison sentence of more than two months, 2 percent for a prison sentence shorter than two months and 10 percent had no opinion.

In the view of 51 percent, the court has ‘unacceptably violated the position of a representative of the people who was supported by more than half a million voters’. This statement was disagreed with by 46 percent. Almost half (49 percent) said the court’s decision was “politically motivated” while 43 percent opted for “legally motivated”.

For 13 percent, the decision has improved their image of the judicial system, 40 percent have become more negative on it and 45 percent did not change their opinion. Perhaps remarkably, 69 percent predict the court case will increase popular support for Wilders, while only 6 percent expect it to have “a negative electoral effect” for him.

Finally, 26 percent said that the decision made them more inclined to vote for Wilders than they had been. Two percent are now less inclined to vote for Wilders, 11 percent had not changed their inclination and 60 percent said they had never been inclined to vote for Wilders and that this was still the case.

– Source: Poll: Minority of Population Support Wilders Trial, NIS News (Netherlands), Jan. 24, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

About the Resource

NIS News Bulletin is the longest-running Dutch daily newspaper in English. Its history goes back to 1965 when the then state news agency ANP started a newsletter in English for the foreign community, called ANP News Bulletin. In 1997, Netherlands Info Services BV (NIS) acquired the journal and continued it under its current name, NIS News Bulletin.

From day one, NIS News Bulletin expanded its news coverage. More so than before, the bulletin boosted its focus on the needs of foreign diplomats, business representatives and other non-Dutch professionals, securing its position as their most important independent news source. Today, NIS News Bulletin is the leading and most extensive provider of Dutch news in English.

NIS News Bulletin is the voice that keeps the international diplomatic and business community informed. Appearing every day, except on Sundays and Mondays, it covers Dutch political and economic developments as they develop. Central are the cabinet decisions, parliamentary debates, foreign and defence policy and macro-economic and company news.

NIS News Bulletin stays aloof from both political correctness and hype-driven journalism. Its reporters provide unbiased insight into socio-cultural questions, such as the ongoing individualisation of society and the Dutch approach to a growing Muslim population.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday January 25, 2009.
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