The Hague: Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) and a vocal critic of Islam, has emerged as the winner of the snap parliamentary election in the Netherlands. His party is projected to win 37 seats in the 150-seat lower house of Parliament, making it the largest party and giving Wilders a strong chance to form the next ruling coalition and become the prime minister.
The election was called after the collapse of the previous government led by Mark Rutte, the EU’s second longest-serving leader, over a dispute on migration policy. Rutte announced his retirement from politics shortly after resigning.
Wilders, who has been dubbed the ‘Dutch Trump’ for his populist policies and blond hair, campaigned on a platform of limiting immigration, leaving the EU, and restoring national sovereignty. He also promised to address the issues of rising inflation, housing shortage, and healthcare access that have affected many Dutch citizens.
Wilders has faced death threats, legal troubles, and travel bans for his controversial views on Islam, which he has called “a totalitarian ideology” and “a threat to Western civilization”. He has also advocated for banning the Quran, closing mosques, and deporting Muslims from the Netherlands.
Despite his radical politics, Wilders has a loyal following among his supporters, who see him as a defender of Dutch values and culture. He is also a staunch supporter of Israel and has proposed to move the Dutch embassy to Jerusalem and close the diplomatic post in Ramallah.
Wilders, who has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1998, will become the longest-serving lawmaker in the Dutch parliament later this year. He is also known for his wit and his love for his two cats, Snoetje and Pluisje, who have their own accounts on ‘X’ and around 23,000 followers each.
Wilders celebrated his victory by posting a video on ‘X’ in which he showed his joy and gratitude to his voters. He said he was ready to form a “stable and reliable” government that would “make the Netherlands great again”.