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I was reading this article (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38253122), and the following points don't seem to fit together.

Dutch voters choose a new government in March 2017 and if the polls are right, the right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) of populist leader Geert Wilders is surging ahead of his rivals and is set to win 35 seats.

And

"The PVV has no party organisation or local branches, no member or activist base, he is the only member of the party."

Assuming the PVV did win those 35 seats, who would actually sit in them if Wilders is the only member of his own party?

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In Dutch elections, any party can register for participation and present a list of candidates. For the 2017 elections, 81 parties initially registered; 31 of those have delivered a list of candidates; 28 met requirements to take part in at least one electoral district, 16 parties take part in all 20 electoral districts.

There is no legal requirement that parliamentary candidates are members of the party, although most parties do have such an internal requirement. In the PVV, Geert Wilders decides unilaterally on who will be on the list and at what position; indeed, it means that even the parliamentarians for the PVV are not party members, apart from Geert Wilders. There does exist an association "friends of the PVV" and of course sympathisers can and do freely assemble, but those assemblies hold no formal power.

  • Ah, ok - so he does have supporters for those seats, they're just not officially members of his party. Judging by the BBC article, it sounds like he hasn't filed his list of candidates yet (or are those records still considered private for some reason?). – Adam Luchjenbroers Feb 2 '17 at 3:41
  • @AdamLuchjenbroers The candidate lists are currently preliminary (PVV has a list on its website). The Kiesraad reports that he has provided a list of candidates, this will be published by the Kiesraad tomorrow after they have established for all the 31 lists whether they are valid (no problem for established parties but for new parties/lists there can be problems with deposits and signatures; probably some of the 31 will drop out, but not the established parties like the PVV) – gerrit Feb 2 '17 at 11:10
  • @AdamLuchjenbroers Also, I believe the PVV does maintain a list of donors so Wilders might declare donorship as a requirement. – gerrit Feb 2 '17 at 11:14
  • Although the PVV party formally has only one member, many party structures are present, although those are not formally part of the association that has been registered with the Kiesraad. Nothing prevents the candidates from gathering, organizing public debates, and so on. And they do. – Sjoerd Feb 3 '17 at 2:56
  • @Sjoerd And nothing prevents Wilders from ignoring what they say even if all except him support it. Of course Wilders could hardly prohibit his supporters to assemble even if he wanted to. – gerrit Feb 3 '17 at 9:56

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