According to projections, right-wing populist Wilders’ party will win the Dutch election

According to partial results on Thursday, the party of right-wing populist Geert Wilders is in the lead in the early parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. The PVV therefore has 35 seats in parliament, compared to 24 seats for the bourgeois-conservative VVD and 25 seats for the center-left alliance Groenlinks/PvdA.

After the first forecasts were published, Wilders said he was confident of victory. His freedom party PVV can now “no longer be ignored,” he told cheering supporters in The Hague: “The Dutch hope that the people will get their country back and that we will ensure that the tsunami of asylum seekers and immigrants is reduced.” Wilders called on the other parties to work together to form a coalition.

Forming a government is likely to be difficult despite the right-wing populists’ electoral success. The chairmen of the other major parties had already declared in advance that they did not want to join a coalition led by the PVV. To govern, a coalition needs at least 76 seats in parliament.

Former Christian Democrat Pieter Omtzigt, whose newly formed New Social Contract party won 20 seats according to a previous exit poll, appeared to deviate from that position, saying he was “available” – although coalition talks would be “not easy.” .

However, Frans Timmermans, head of the left-wing alliance Groenlinks/PvdA, once again ruled out a coalition and declared: “Now is the time to defend democracy.”

A Wilders victory would be tantamount to a political earthquake for the Netherlands. The right-wing populist is known as the “Dutch Trump” – not only because of his dyed-blonde hair, which is combed back like former US President Donald Trump, but also because of his agitation against immigrants and Muslims.

During his election campaign, the 60-year-old tried to adopt a more moderate tone and declared that he wanted to be a prime minister for everyone – “regardless of their religion, their origin, their gender or whatever.”

However, his PVV’s election program speaks a different language. It says, among other things: “Asylum seekers feast on wonderful free buffets on cruise ships, while Dutch families have to save on food.” The program proposes a ban on Islamic schools, the Koran and mosques and wants to ban headscarves from government buildings.

The party is also aiming to do the same as Great Britain and vote in a “mandatory referendum” on “Nexit”, i.e. the Netherlands’ exit from the EU. When it comes to foreign policy, the party’s election program adopts a similar tone to that of former US President Trump and proclaims “Netherlands first”, based on Trump’s slogan “America first”.

France’s right-wing populist Marine Le Pen congratulated Wilders and his party on the “spectacular” result, which, in her words, “confirms the growing support for the defense of national identities,” as she explained on the online service X, formerly Twitter.

Hungary’s right-wing conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban also congratulated Wilders and wrote about a “wind of change” on X.

The new parliamentary election became necessary after the coalition led by long-time head of government Mark Rutte collapsed in a dispute over immigration policy at the beginning of July. Shortly afterwards, the head of government surprisingly announced his withdrawal from politics.