Right-wing anti-Islamic and anti-European Union leader wins elections in the Netherlands

Geert Wilders will begin on Thursday (23) to seek coalition partners to form a new government after an electoral victory that is expected to have far-reaching repercussions in the country and in Europe.

Right-wing and anti-European Union leader Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom (PVV), an anti-Islamic political group, will start on Thursday (23) to seek coalition partners to form a new government in the Netherlands after a massive electoral victory that is expected to have far-reaching repercussions in the country and in Europe.

A fan of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Wilders has promised to suspend all immigration in the country, reduce Dutch payments to the European Union, and block the entry of new members into the bloc, including Ukraine (see politician reactions below).

Defying all predictions, the PVV secured 37 out of 150 parliamentary seats, well ahead of the 25 of the Labour Party-led coalition and the 24 of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), led by outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

“The Rutte era ends with a right-wing populist revolt that shakes (The Hague) to its foundations,” said the Dutch newspaper NRC.

A coalition between the PVV, VVD, and the centrist NSC party would have a combined 81 seats, making it the most obvious combination, but it is still expected to take months of difficult negotiations.

None of the parties with which Wilders could potentially form a government share his anti-EU ideas.

“I am confident that we can reach an agreement,” he said in his victory speech on Wednesday night. “We want to govern, and we will govern.”

Elections Wilders’ victory sends a warning to major parties in Europe ahead of the European Parliament elections in June next year, which are likely to be contested around the same issues as the Dutch election: immigration, cost of living, and climate change.

Wilders has repeatedly argued that the Netherlands should stop supplying weapons to Ukraine because, according to him, his own country needs the weapons to defend itself.

“We will have to find ways to meet the hopes of our voters, to put the Dutch back as number 1,” Wilders said. After his victory, he stated that “the Netherlands will once again belong to the Dutch, the asylum tsunami and immigration will be contained.”

Reactions among politicians and organizations The European Union greeted the victory of the far-right in the Netherlands with apprehension since the PVV promised a referendum on the country’s membership in the bloc. But among other leaders of the far-right in Europe, the result of the Dutch election was celebrated.

In France, the president of the National Rally party, Marine Le Pen, congratulated her “ally” Geert Wilders and the PVV for their “spectacular performance” in the Dutch legislative elections. She believes the victory “confirms the growing attachment to the defense of national identities.”

In an interview with France Inter, Marine Le Pen added that the victory “demonstrates that more and more countries in the European Union are questioning its functioning and want to control immigration, which is seen by many people as massive and chaotic.”

In Hungary, nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also celebrated the victory and welcomed the “winds of change” in the Netherlands.

In Italy, Matteo Salvini of the League spoke of the Dutch’s “extraordinary” performance and said that “a new Europe is possible.”

Islamic and Moroccan organizations expressed concern about Wilders’ victory. Muslims make up about 5% of the Dutch population.

Turnaround at the polls Initially, voters’ preference pointed to a newly formed party, the populist NSC – New Social Contract Party. In less than three weeks before the election, the party’s membership rate multiplied, and its leader, Pieter Omtzigt, was already being touted as the potential prime minister. However, in Wednesday’s election, the party ended up in fourth place.

According to the Ipsos polling institute, 39% of Dutch voters wanted a right-wing government this time. But Wilders’ electoral victory, nicknamed the “Dutch Trump,” does not guarantee that he will be able to gather the necessary support to form a broad enough coalition to enable a government.

According to political analysts, the government will involve three to five parties in preliminary negotiations. Smaller parties have already confirmed their unconditional support for the PVV.

The PVV “can no longer be ignored,” Wilders declared in front of his ecstatic supporters in The Hague. “I call on the parties (…) Now we have to find agreements among ourselves. The Dutch expect the people to regain their country, and we can ensure that the asylum seekers and immigration tsunami are reduced,” he added.

Forming a government will be a challenge The political landscape will be complicated, according to political scientist Tom van de Meer, because other right-wing, center, left, and liberal parties have already stated that they will not consider governing with Geert Wilders. Pieter Omtzigt of the New Social Contract Party said he is “available” now but warned that negotiations “won’t be easy.”

In Wednesday’s vote, second place went to the PvDA alliance, formed by the Green and Labour parties, with 25 seats. The third-place finisher was the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of former Prime Minister Mark Rutte, with 24 seats.

This year, 26 parties competed, and 17 of them were already represented in the Second Chamber of Parliament, composed of 150 members. Another surprise in this election was the shrinking of the left-wing liberal D66 party (Democracy 66), which was part of the current governing coalition. From 24 deputies, D66 will now have only 10 seats.

Afonso Alcântara

CEO of Walerts is an expert in Digital Marketing and Artificial Intelligence. CEO of Wproo, an international Web Software Development company.

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