‘We can no longer be ignored!’ Dutch establishment shocked as Geert Wilders’ right-wing Party for Freedom projected to win landslide election

By Thomas Brooke
5 Min Read

Dutch exit polls are predicting Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) will become the largest party in the Netherlands by a considerable distance in an astonishing election result that some have called the largest political earthquake in Europe since Brexit.

Two surveys conducted by Ipsos published as polls closed across the country showed the right-wing populists winning 35 seats, far better than any pollster had predicted ahead of the vote and a result that will see Wilders’ party more than double its membership in the Dutch House of Representatives.

The anti-Islam, anti-immigration party took far more votes from the governing VVD, the Labor-Green alliance of PvdA-GroenLinks led by Eurocrat Frans Timmermans, and several other establishment parties than was expected as disillusioned voters seemingly turned out in droves to endorse Wilders as the next prime minister of the Netherlands.

Speaking after the exit poll, the 60-year-old Dutch politician said his party can “no longer be ignored” by the mainstream media and establishment politicians, describing the election as a “mega victory” and calling on other parties to now come to the negotiating table and form the next government.

Several party leaders, including Timmermans, Pieter Omtzigt of the New Social Contract (NSC), and VVD’s Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius had all ruled out accepting ministerial posts in a Wilders-led government before the bombshell election results, a move that could prove problematic should establishment parties seek to ignore the PVV and negotiate its own coalition.

[pp id=99404]

Wilders warned that “voters would not accept” such an attempt to ignore the will of the people, and called on party leaders to “get over their own shadows” and accept the new political landscape.

He vowed to ensure that Dutch people, “regardless of where you come from and what your faith is… will have more money in their wallets” and pledged to restore “care and safety.”

Conservatives across Europe rushed to congratulate Wilders on the remarkable electoral success, including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who declared that “the winds of change are here.”

French nationalist firebrand Marine Le Pen described Wilders’ victory as evidence of the “growing attachment to the defense of national identities” and praised his supporters for giving new hope to Europe.

“More and more Europeans demand in the streets and at the polls that their nations, their borders, and their rights be defended,” added Santiago Abascal, the leader of Spain’s right-wing populist Vox party.

[pp id=99156]

Wilders’ Party for Freedom was given little help in leapfrogging to the forefront of Dutch politics by the mainstream media, much of which opted to ignore the right-wing group and promote the Netherlands’ old guard.

Watchdog data published just days before Wednesday’s vote showed how a member of the PVV had not featured once on a popular late-night talk show on one of the Netherlands’ public broadcasters since the fall of former Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet back in July.

At the same time, VVD politicians had been invited on the Op1 show no fewer than 21 times and the PvdA-GL on 13 occasions. Instead, Wilders had to rely on his considerable social media presence to hope that the palpable disillusionment among the Dutch electorate swung in his favor, and to ensure that when his time came to speak directly to the voters in the televised leadership debates, he made the most of the opportunity.

The latter certainly came to fruition, with PVV’s popularity soaring after a recent televised debate in which Wilders is widely considered to have won handsomely.

VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius expressed her disappointment at the exit poll results on Wednesday evening, telling journalists that the election has been “a big lesson to politicians.”

“They haven’t listened enough to the people and haven’t offered enough workable solutions. We will no longer lead the way, but I am incredibly proud of the party,” she added.

Share This Article