Dutch lawmaker suspends campaigning due to security scandal

Anti-Islam Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders on Thursday suspended open campaigning for next month's parliamentary election in the wake of a scandal centering on a security official who is part of a the team giving him round-the-clock protection.

Wilders was reacting to a newspaper story claiming the security official, already detained on suspicion of leaking classified information, was also suspected of infractions earlier in his career.

Wilders said in a tweet that "the news is incredibly worrisome" and added that until the situation has been cleared up his populist Party for Freedom was suspending "public activities." He had been expected to campaign again over the weekend.

Wilders has lived for more than a decade under around-the-clock protection and in anonymous safe houses following death threats. The detained officer is part of a team responsible for security around top politicians and diplomats.

The Netherlands holds its parliamentary election on March 15 and Wilders' Party of Freedom could well come out on top, even though he is likely to be kept out of any coalition government.

Despite Wilders' security concern, the government said it was safe for him to continue campaigning.

"All politicians, Geert Wilders and others, can safely get on the streets. We guarantee that," Dutch Security and Justice Minister Stef Blok told NOS network. The minister had discussed the issue with Wilders.

The extent of the breach and its impact on the tight security cordon that constantly surrounds Wilders was not immediately clear.

Wilders was convicted last year for anti-Moroccan comments and while campaigning just last weekend referred to "Moroccan scum" who commit crimes in the Netherlands. His manifesto includes closing Dutch borders to all migrants from Muslim nations, banning the Quran and shutting all mosques in the Netherlands.

The last time the Netherlands was the scene of a political murder was in 2002, when populist politician Pim Fortuyn was gunned down in a parking lot by an animal rights activist.

Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

In the small print

In the small print..

26-Apr, 14:00

Donald Trump during the campaign called for a simpler tax code and lower...

Strange sky spectacle: An aurora named 'Steve'

Strange sky spectacle: An aurora named 'Steve'..

26-Apr, 14:40

An aurora named "Steve" appears in the night sky over Alberta, Canada....

North Korea faces tighter sanctions under Trump strategy

North Korea faces tighter sanctions under Trump strategy..

26-Apr, 18:24

The US is to tighten sanctions on North Korea and step up diplomatic...

House aims to rewrite consumer safeguards

House aims to rewrite consumer safeguards..

26-Apr, 17:56

File photo taken in 2014 shows House Financial Services Committee...

M Countdown Episode 514

M Countdown Episode 514..

09-Mar, 21:06

The following M Countdown Episode 514 English Sub has been released. Full...

Greece's Tsipras paints positive picture of future reforms

Greece's Tsipras paints positive picture of future reforms..

24-Feb, 05:08

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says an agreement with European...

Asian Stocks Sag After Wall Street Ends Little Changed

Asian Stocks Sag After Wall Street Ends Little Changed..

03-Feb, 02:02

Asian stock markets were mostly lower Friday after Wall Street ended...

Asian shares mixed as Trump talks down US dollar

Asian shares mixed as Trump talks down US dollar..

13-Apr, 01:25

Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after President Donald Trump...