HomeWorldDutch far-right Wilders woos rivals with shock election victory

Dutch far-right Wilders woos rivals with shock election victory


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Far-right firebrand and self-proclaimed Islamophobe Geert Wilders confronted an uphill wrestle Thursday to woo rivals for a coalition authorities after a “monster victory” in Dutch elections that shook the Netherlands and Europe.

His PVV (Freedom Party) gained 37 seats in parliament, greater than doubling his share from the final election and outstripping opponents, based on close to full outcomes.

A left-wing bloc trailed far behind on 25 seats, with the center-right VVD on 24, a catastrophic end result for the celebration of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Wilders, 60, now has the daunting process of making an attempt to kind a working coalition, courting rivals that categorically dominated out serving in a PVV-led authorities earlier than the vote.

The sudden landslide win prompted fast congratulations from fellow far-right leaders in France and Hungary however will seemingly elevate fears in Brussels – Wilders is anti-EU and needs a vote on a “Nexit” to go away the bloc.

Known for its anti-Islam rhetoric, Wilders’s PVV program pledges a ban on the Quran, mosques and Islamic headscarves, and Muslim group leaders within the Netherlands had been fast to voice concern.

“I woke up this morning with an unpleasant feeling. Actually also in shock,” Habib el Kaddouri from the SMN affiliation of Moroccan Dutch, advised AFP.

“Some people are scared, others uncertain about their future, about what the result means for their citizenship or place in Dutch society,” he added.

Lizette Keyzer, a 60-year-old business supervisor from Enschede within the east of the Netherlands, mentioned she had “heart palpitations” when the exit ballot outcomes got here out.

The nation “is going in a right-wing direction. We hope that this does not completely become the case”, added Keyzer.


Addressing cheering supporters in The Hague after exit polls, Wilders doubled down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric, saying the Dutch had voted to stem the “tsunami” of asylum-seekers.

He later advised reporters he wished to be “prime minister for all Dutch” and would “work hard with other parties” to kind a coalition.

But it isn’t clear how he can scrape collectively the 76 seats he wants for a majority within the 150-seat parliament.

Former European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, whose Green/Labour bloc got here in second, instantly dominated out cooperation, saying it was now their job to “defend democracy” within the nation.

Anti-corruption champion Pieter Omtzigt, whose New Social Contract celebration scored 20 seats, appears sure to play a task and indicated he was “available” for talks, admitting they would not be straightforward.

Dilan Yeşilgöz, who led the centre-right VVD to a disappointing 24 seats, was coy on election night time, saying Wilders must see if he can forge a coalition.

She first opened the door to Wilders becoming a member of a VVD-led authorities however has pressured she wouldn’t serve beneath him.

“It will be entirely up to the VVD,” mentioned Sarah de Lange, Professor of Political Pluralism on the University of Amsterdam.

“A big issue will be who will be prime minister, because with Wilders as prime minister, the Netherlands has an impossible situation internationally,” she added.

‘Winds of change’

The Dutch lurch to the far-right comes after Italy elected Giorgia Meloni as prime minister.

Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed “winds of change” after the exit ballot, whereas France’s Marine Le Pen cheered his “spectacular performance.”

And though Wilders pledged he could be prime minister “for all the Dutch”, his anti-Muslim rants previously have earned him the sobriquet “Dutch Trump” – additionally a reference to his dyed, slicked-back coiffure.

He was discovered responsible of discrimination in 2016 after main a crowd chanting for “fewer” Moroccans within the Netherlands and has beforehand likened the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” saying each books ought to be banned.

With hallmark Wilders rhetoric, the PVV manifesto says: “Asylum-seekers feast on delightful free cruise-ship buffets while Dutch families have to cut back on groceries.”

A “binding referendum” could be held on a “Nexit” – the concept of the Netherlands leaving the EU. The PVV additionally requires an “immediate halt” to improvement assist.

On overseas coverage, the parallels to Trump are clear. “Netherlands first,” trumpeted the manifesto.

Dutch media had been left agog by the margin of Wilders’ victory.

“No one expected this, not even the winner himself,” mentioned the Trouw each day. Even the often unexcitable NOS public broadcaster referred to as it a “monster victory”, a phrase that featured in a number of media.

The Financieele Dagblad mentioned the end result “turns politics in The Hague on its head” whereas the NRC each day describes it as a “right-wing populist revolt that will shake the Binnenhof to its foundations”, referring to the federal government quarter in The Hague.

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