With his Freedom Party (PVV) anticipated to get about 37 out of 150 parliamentary seats, hardline anti-Islamist and Euroskeptic Geert Wilders will likely emerge victorious in the Dutch election. Predictions indicate that the Labour-Green combination, headed by Frans Timmermans, will get 25 seats, placing them in second place.
After suffering huge losses, Dilan Yeşilgöz, who will succeed departing premier Mark Rutte, is projected to capture 24 seats, ten less than before. Since the Netherlands was a founding member of the European Union, Wilders’ triumph will have repercussions across the continent.
European far-right and nationalist figures have lauded his success; for example, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen said that his accomplishment “confirms the rising connection to the protection of national identities.” Wilders acknowledges no national sentiment to leave the EU but wants to stage a “Nexit” vote. In the days leading up to the vote, he toned down his anti-Islam rhetoric, claiming that other matters needed his immediate attention and that he was willing to “put in the fridge” his plans to outlaw mosques and Islamic institutions.
Wilders’ victory would significantly depart Rutte’s four centrist administrations in the Netherlands. We need to know whether other parties are prepared to join Wilders in forming a coalition. He may have won the most votes but still won’t have enough to create a parliamentary majority. The anti-Islamic rhetoric of Wilders was a prominent component of the PVV’s platform, which called for the outright prohibition of mosques, the Quran, and Islamic headscarves in public spaces.
According to Pieter Omtzigt, whose newly founded party is expected to get 20 seats, Wilders’ anti-Islamic views violate the religious and speech freedoms guaranteed by the Dutch constitution. Consequently, Wilders has previously denied any intention of collaborating with Omtzigt. Timmermans has also publicly stated his opposition to Wilders’ candidacy.
Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz, who succeeded Rutte as leader of the VVD, opened the door to collaboration with the PVV to rally voters who favor a right-wing government around her, ending the explicit agreement among mainstream parties to exclude Wilders from governing coalitions this summer.