THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is seeking to lure voters away from anti-immigration lawmaker Geert Wilders, as campaigning for March 15 national elections heats up.
In a full-page message published Monday in national newspapers, Rutte says "we have to actively defend our values" against people who refuse to integrate.
While Rutte's message doesn't mention Wilders or his Party for Freedom, it is clearly aimed at voters who back Wilders' hard-line platform.
Rutte, leader of the center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, says he understands calls for people who don't integrate to leave the Netherlands. He says, "I have that feeling, too. Behave normally or go away."
Wilders hit back on Twitter, calling Rutte "the man of open borders, the asylum tsunami, mass immigration, Islamization, lies and deception."