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Dutch populist faces backlash on Moroccan remarks

Friday - 3/21/2014, 11:12am  ET

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 file photo, Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders presents a study, during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands. The Dutch right-wing populist politician Geert Wilders has led his supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant. At a party meeting Wednesday evening, March 19, 2014 in The Hague, where his Freedom Party is set to win the most votes in municipal elections, Wilders asked supporters whether they wanted “more or fewer” Moroccans in the Netherlands. His supporters chanted back: "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” before breaking into applause. Wilders’ party is the fourth-largest in Parliament but leads in national opinion polls. His rise to popularity in the Netherlands over the past decade came amid a surge of anti-immigrant sentiment in a country once famed for its tolerance. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, File)

TOBY STERLING
Associated Press

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders is facing the most serious backlash of his career, as prosecutors said Friday they have lost track of the number of complaints filed against him and two of the 14 members of his parliamentary faction quit in protest.

At a meeting of Wilders' Freedom Party Wednesday, he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, drawing them into the chant "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!"

"We'll take care of it," he promised.

Though Wilders often courts controversy, reactions this time may have been more negative than he was expecting.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative VVD Party had been the only mainstream Dutch party to consider cooperation with Wilders, but Rutte says that's no longer possible.

Wilders says he stands by his words.


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