Green Party leader Jesse Klaver is being described as the Dutch answer to Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
The 30-year-old, who has both Moroccan and Indonesian roots, has offered a very different message to the tougher rhetoric of Geert Wilders and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in the run-up to Wednesday’s big election in the Netherlands.
With the Dutch Labour Party seemingly tanking in the polls, voters are looking for an alternative and they are looking towards Klaver.
He could end up as a kingmaker in future coalition talks.
“I think we are still a tolerant country,” Klaver told Euronews, while on the campaign trail in Leiden, a university city around 15 kilometres from the Hague.
“We are a country who believes in freedom and we are an emphatic society I would say. Geert Wilders is losing momentum. You know he was very high in the polls and now he is going down and down and down. And that’s where he should be.
“And a lot of people who are voting for Geert Wilders are not racist, they are very tolerant. Except they are only afraid for what is happening in their lives. They are afraid for their future.”
Polls say the MP could win a record eighteen seats, up from the Greens current total of four.
Voters say Labour is paying the for price entering a coalition with the centre-right and backing spending cuts and welfare reforms.
“I think he is popular because he is positive, he has energy. And he gives hope to the people against the right wing parties,” commented one voter in Leiden.
Another added: “I think the Labour Party does not show itself so much at the moment. And I think The PvDA (Labour party) really gave away something of itself during the last term.”
Klaver wants new green taxes and to tackle social inequality. His opponents say his plans will kill growth and cost Dutch jobs.
But as many rising political stars in the Netherlands have found out in the past, making promises is the easy part.
The unpredictable nature of Dutch coalition politics means actually keeping them is very difficult indeed.
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