A far-right, anti-Islam politician in the Netherlands is projected to win the Dutch election.
Exit polls have showed that Geert Wilders, leader of Freedom Party (PVV), is set to win around 35 of the 150 seats in parliament.
This is more than double the number the party won in the 2021 election.
The PVV were nine seats ahead of Wilders’ closest rival, former EU commissioner Frans Timmermans’ Labour/Green Left combination.
Dutch far-right politician and leader of the PVV party, Geert Wilders speaks as he reacts to the exit poll
The party of outgoing conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte, was in third place at 23 seats, the exit poll showed.
Wilders has been called the “Dutch Trump” for his blonde hair and radical speech.
His anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and anti-EU message seemed to have swept him into first place in the 2023 Dutch parliamentary elections.
The party have proposed to ban mosques and the Quran, and forbid Islamic headscarves in government buildings.
He is also a hard-line euro-sceptic, who is keen to leave the EU in a Brexit-style fashion.
If they win, the PVV have promised an EU referendum, dubbed “Nexit”.
Beaming after the exit poll results, Wilders: “The voters have spoken tonight and they have said that they are fed up.”
“We are going to make sure that Dutch voters will be put first again.”
He said that his party wants to curb the “asylum tsunami”.
In a video uploaded to social media, he said: “We will have to find ways to live up to the hopes of our voters, to put the Dutch back on number one.
If they win, the PVV have promised an EU referendum, dubbed “Nexit”
He called for other parties to work with him: “Now is the time for parties to look for agreements, we can’t be ignored.”
“This exit poll is historic; it is the biggest shift we have ever seen in the Netherlands,” political scientist Tom van der Meer told national broadcaster NOS.
The political scientist gave three explanations for the unexpected win: “First, we have had a center cabinet for 11 years. In response to that, voters mainly went to the flanks.
“Second, migration was a big theme and voters quickly think of the PVV when they think of that issue.
“Lastly, VVD leader Yeşilgöz opened the door to the PVV as a coalition partner. In the Netherlands, people have long been looking for a party that is more outspoken than the VVD, but can govern. Now that door to the PVV is open, they have found it.”
However, even though Wilders has won the most seats, it is unlikely that he will end up as prime minister.
No single party can win enough seats to govern alone, and three big parties behind him have made clear they have no desire to work with Wilders.
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