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HomeWorldFar-right populist leader Geert Wilders wins 37 seats in Netherlands, Dutch veteran...

Far-right populist leader Geert Wilders wins 37 seats in Netherlands, Dutch veteran needs coalition to rule

Wikimedia Wouter Engler

The Freedom Party has won the most seats in the recent elections in the Netherlands, and veteran leader Geert Wilders is getting ready to form a coalition government. The Freedom Party (PVV) has won 37 seats, as almost all the votes have been counted. It will be the largest party in the Dutch House of Representatives. The forecast based on 98 percent of votes counted gives the left-wing alliance, led by ex-EU commissioner Frans Timmermans 25 seats.

The Freedom Party won 17 seats in the last election, and its unexpected majority this election has made its leader, Geert Wilders, eager to become the Prime Minister. However, the far-right populist leader will need support from other parties, including the conservative VVD Party, the party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which came third in the polls with 24 seats, and the New Social Contract Party, led by Pieter Omtzigt, a Christian conservative party that got 20 seats.

A new government formation is expected to begin on Friday. However, it could take a long time as the Freedom Party may have to make many concessions, including axing Nexit and toning down Islamophobia, as the Dutch overwhelmingly want to remain in the EU and the proposals against Islam and Muslims by the Freedom Party are unconstitutional, according to experts.

The Freedom Party’s campaign based on reigning in migration, tackling the increased cost of living, and the housing crisis due to shortages of homes are expected to be the issues that the new government will focus on.

The results in the Netherlands sent shockwaves across Europe as right- and far-right leaders in the bloc are increasing. Italy, Switzerland, Poland, and Hungary already have far-right leaders, while France, Finland, Sweden and Serbia have seen an increase in popularity of far-right leaders and their parties. Geert Wilden’s victory adds to the influence that the far right could exert on the EU.

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