Support for Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party has dropped by four seats since a senior MP left the party earlier this week, according to a weekly opinion poll.
If elections were held today, the anti-immigration party would win 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago.
MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest of Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, according to the poll, Mr Brinkman would have insufficient votes to gain an independent seat.
The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.
The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide