Far-right leader dubbed ‘Dutch Trump’ lands shock election win in Netherlands

He is set to become the country's first far-right prime minister.

Far-right leader dubbed ‘Dutch Trump’ lands shock election win in Netherlands
TOPSHOT - PVV leader Geert Wilders reacts to the results of the House of Representatives elections in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 22 November 2023. The far-right, anti-Islam party of firebrand politician Geert Wilders has won a stunning victory in the Dutch election, partial results showed Wednesday, a political bombshell that will resound in Europe and around the world. (Photo by Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT - Belgium OUT (Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Geert Wilders will become the country’s first far-right prime minister (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

Dutch far-right populist Geert Wilders, dubbed the ‘Dutch Donald Trump’, is projected to have won a landslide victory in the Netherlands parliamentary elections.

The anti-Islam politician has vowed to stop all immigration to the Netherlands and would become the country’s first far-right prime minister.

His Freedom Party (PVV) has won 37 seats out of 150 with 98% of votes now counted.

This is well ahead of 25 for a joint Labour/Green ticket and 24 for the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte.

But the Freedom Party will need to form a coalition government even though it has more than doubled its 17 seats won in the last election.

During the victory speech Mr Wilders said: ‘I had to pinch my arm.’

‘Voters said, “We are sick of it. Sick to our stomachs”,’ he said, adding he was now on a mission to end the ‘asylum tsunami’, referring to the migration issue.

‘The Dutch will be No 1 again,’ he said. ‘The people must get their nation back.’

Workers prepare to remove an election sign of Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders near the Binnenhof, a day after the Netherlands general elections, in the Hague on November 23, 2023. Far-right firebrand Geert Wilders faced an uphill struggle to woo rivals for a coalition government after a
He faces an uphill struggle to woo rivals for a coalition government (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

The election was called after the fourth and final coalition of outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte resigned in July after failing to agree to measures to rein in migration.

To the relief of everyone, Mr Wilders confirmed whatever he would do would be ‘within the law and constitution’.

His election programme included calls for a referendum on the Netherlands leaving the EU and a halt of accepting asylum seekers and migrants at the Dutch border.

The party also advocates the ‘de-Islamisation’ of the Netherlands but he has been milder about this during the election campaign.

Mainstream parties are reluctant to join forces with Mr Wilders but the size of his victory strengthens his hand in negotiations.

Pieter Omtzigt, a former centrist Christian Democrat, said he would always be open to talks.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom, known as PVV, answers questions to media after announcement of the first preliminary results of general elections in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Mr Wilders softened his stance on immigration nearer the end of the election (Picture: AP)

The closest party to Mr Wilders’s in terms of number of seats are an alliance of centre-left Labour Party and Green Left, which were forecast to win 26 seats.

Its leader Frans Timmermans said the party would not go into coalition with the Freedom Party.

The win comes a year after right wing leader Giorgia Meloni won the election in Italy.

But she has since mellowed her stance on many issues and has become the acceptable face of the hard right in the EU.

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban who has similar harsh tactics towards migration was quick to congratulate Mr Wilders.

He said: ‘The winds of change are here! Congratulations.’

The exit poll published can have a margin of error of up to three seats but generally is accurate within one or two seats, said Ipsos.

Many elections across Europe are altering the political landscape from Slovakia and Spain, to Germany and Poland, populist and hard-right parties triumphed in some EU member nations and faltered in others.

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