THE HAGUE–With almost 94 percent of votes counted, Dutch news agency ANP is predicting that the far-right PVV of Geert Wilders will walk away with 37 seats in the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament.
Never listed in the top three of Dutch opinion polls until this week, Wilders’ party received a surge of support in the past several days and stunned many observers with Wednesday’s sweeping victory in the Netherlands’ parliamentary election.
In ANP’s provisional forecast, left-wing alliance GroenLinks/PvdA will get 25 seats followed by right-wing liberal party VVD with 24 seats and Pieter Omtzigt’s New Social Contract (NSC) with 20 seats.
The remaining parties are all predicted to be below 10, with centrist party D66 on nine seats, pro-farmers’ party BBB on seven seats, and Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and Socialist Party (SP) on five each.
ANP’s provisional forecast is based on the voting results as of 1:20am Thursday. This is why it is seen as more accurate than the exit poll conducted by research agency Ipsos on behalf of Dutch public broadcaster NOS and television news service RTL Nieuws. PVV had 35 seats in this exit poll.
When the exit poll’s results were announced, Wilders was at a cafe in The Hague. His fans erupted in cheers, hugged and threw their arms in the air.
In a victory speech, Wilders vowed to bring an end to a “tsunami of asylum and immigration.”
Wilders is expected to try to form a right-wing government with VVD and NSC which together would hold a 79-seat majority.
Talks could be difficult, as both parties have said they have serious doubts about working with Wilders because of his outspoken anti-Islam stance.
“I am confident we can reach an agreement,” Wilders said in his victory speech. “I understand perfectly well we should not take any measures that would be unconstitutional.” His party had now become too large to ignore, he said, adding he was ready to lead the country.
Wilders rode a wave of anti-immigration sentiment, blaming a housing shortage on flows of asylum seekers and drawing on widespread concerns about the cost of living and the overburdened healthcare system.
Wilders’ upset victory comes two months after the return to power of the equally anti-European Union (EU) populist Robert Fico in Slovakia, who pledged to halt military aid to Ukraine and cut immigration. Last year, Italy formed its most right-wing government since World War Two after the election victory of Giorgia Meloni.
Wilders’ inflammatory views on Islam have prompted death threats and he has lived under heavy police protection for years. He has called the prophet Mohammed a “paedophile,” Islam a “fascist ideology” and “backward religion,” and wants to ban mosques and the Quran, the Muslim holy book, in the Netherlands.
Abroad, his anti-Islam comments led to sometimes violent protests in nations with large Muslim populations, including Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt. In Pakistan, a religious leader issued a fatwa against him.
Islamic and Moroccan organisations have expressed concerns about Wilders’ victory.
“The distress and fear are enormous,” Habib el Kaddouri, who heads an organisation representing Dutch Moroccans, told ANP. “We are afraid that he will portray us as second-class citizens.”
Bron: Daily Herald