Dutch far-right populist claims surprise election victory

Among Greet Wilders' electoral selling points, he plans to lead the Netherlends out of the EU and spoke clearly on his anti-Islam and anti-migration views

Wilders celebrating his victory on X, formerly known as Twitter
Wilders celebrating his victory on X, formerly known as Twitter

The far-right populist candidate in Wednesday's Dutch general election, Geert Wilders has secured a surprising victory, sending shockwaves across the country and the continent.

Wilders is a veteran politician, having served 25 years in parliament, and after almost all votes were counted, his Freedom Party (PVV) won 37 seats in the house of representatives.

The uphill battle now facing the 60-year-old Wilders is to put together a functional coalition by courting opponents who, prior to the poll, made it clear they would not serve in a PVV-led administration.

Trailing Wilders with only 25 seats, a left-wing alliance came in far behind the center-right VVD with 24 seats. 

Far-right parties and their leaders across Europe such as France's Marine Le Pen and Hungary's Viktor Orban were quick to congratulate Wilders. The enthusiasm was not shared in Brussles however, given that Wilders is a staunch Euroskeptic who campaigned on leading the Netherlends out of the EU.

Muslim community leaders in the Netherlands also expressed alarm at the PVV's electoral pledges, which call for the removal of the Koran, mosques, and Islamic headscarves.

Wilders also made immigration a key selling point during his campaign, confirming his pledge to address the "tsunami of asylum and immigration," during his victory speech.

His victory comes only a few days after another far-right leader on the other side of the globe came to power in Argentina.