'We will govern': Anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders declares victory in Dutch election

23 November 2023, 00:05

Geert Wilders is the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV)
Geert Wilders is the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV). Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Far-right populist Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) are heading for victory in the Dutch election, an exit poll has suggested.

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Mr Wilders, who is known for his anti-Islam stance, is set to win 35 seats after spending more than two decades in the Dutch parliament.

"The PVV can no longer be ignored," the PVV leader said. "We will govern."

Under the Dutch system, no one party is able to win enough of the 150 seats to govern on its own, meaning Mr Wilders will need to form a coalition made up of at least 76.

Three of the biggest parties in the Netherlands have already suggested they will not be involved in any government headed by Mr Wilders.

Declaring victory yesterday evening, Mr Wilders said: "We want to govern and with 35 seats we will govern... 35 seats is an enormous compliment but an enormous responsibility too."

Under the exit poll, the Frans Timmermans-led left-wing alliance will take 25 seats.

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Mr Timmermans has said he will refuse to work with the PVV.

"We won't let anyone in the Netherlands go. In the Netherlands everyone is equal," he said.

It means Mr Wilders will have to look elsewhere if he is to lead a government.

Mr Wilders has been a vocal critic of the European Union, calling for its own version of Brexit - Nexit.

He has also spoke of banning Islam in the Netherlands, though said he would put that on hold.