A party led by Dutch right-wing firebrand Geert Wilders, who’s vowed to halt immigration to the Netherlands and call a referendum over the country’s EU membership, has handily won parliamentary elections on Wednesday, according to exit polls.
In a surprise showing, Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) is polled to take 35 seats in the Netherlands’ 150-MP Parliament, beating out a Labour/Green Left coalition led by former EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD party was in third place and poised to pick up 23 seats in Parliament, according to the exit poll. The showing would make the VVD the most likely partner in a coalition with Wilders, although the former’s party leadership has previously ruled out any cooperation with the far-right PVV.
According to a Reuters dispatch from the Netherlands, Wilders has repeatedly hammered home his anti-migration rhetoric, emphasizing during a television debate on the eve of the election that “…It’s enough now. The Netherlands can’t take it anymore. We have to think about our own people first now. Borders closed. Zero asylum seekers.”
Reuters added that Wilders will likely lead government formation talks that will start on Friday. “He has said he wants to lead the country, but will have to cooperate other parties to form a coalition with a majority in parliament. That process usually takes months.”