PVV 2nd most popular party among Dutch-Surinamese

Geert Wilders Purmerend borders closed
Geert Wilders in Purmerend handing out flyers against the opening of an asylum reception center there. Oct. 6, 2015 (photo: PVV)Geert Wilders in Purmerend handing out flyers against the opening of an asylum reception center there. Oct. 6, 2015 (photo: PVV)

Traditionally the Dutch labor party PvdA could count on most of the votes from minorities living in the Netherlands, but that no longer seems to be the matter of course, according to a unique survey by EtnoBarometer. Many voters with immigrant backgrounds will instead vote for new party DENK in this election. And the PVV is surprisingly popular among Dutch-Surinamese voters, being the second most popular party in this population group, AD reports.

The survey was done by market researcher Aziz El Kaddouri among 1792 ethnic minority voters.

According to the survey, most Dutch people with an immigration background still prefer to vote for a left-wing party. But surprisingly many people with Surinamese roots are choosing a different path this year. While the PvdA is still the most popular party among people in this population group, the PVV is also surprisingly popular. 14 percent of this group said they will be voting for Geert Wilders in the parliamentary elections on March 15th.

Exactly why this is, is unclear. Research by a student at the Vrije Universiteit sees a number of contributing factors. The fact that the PVV shows left-wing tendencies in the socio-economics area may be part of the reason. And anti-Muslim sentiment among Dutch Surinamese may also play a role. Wilders and his PVV scores well among Hindus in the Hague, probably for this reason. 

Voters with Turkish and Moroccan backgrounds on the other hand massively prefer DENK, one of the PVV's most vocal opponents. "This shows that the group of ethnic minority voters is hugely diverse", political scientist Floris Vermeulen from the University of Amsterdam said to AD. "It is difficult to unite them all behind one party." About 40 percent of Dutch-Turks and 34 percent of Dutch-Moroccans plan to vote DENK at the elections.

According to Vermeulen, the shift from PvdA to other parties in these to voter groups started in the previous municipal elections already. "Religious issues and the country of origin play a major role for the Turkish and Moroccan groups. The PvdA has divergent positions on that, they are for example critical of [Turkish president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. These voters therefore started looking for another party and DENK jumped into that hole."

Researcher El Kaddouri describes DENK as the party for the "angry brown man". "They are very popular among Turkish and Moroccan young people. Who often influence their family, because they are better informed and educated than their parents."

Sylvana Simons is focusing on discrimination and racism, among other things, with her new party Artikel 1 - two topics that are very high on the priority list for Dutch voters with an immigrant background, according to the survey. Yet at this stage she does not have much support among this group of voters - only 2 percent indicated that they will be voting Artikel 1.