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Far-Right’s Populist Geert Wilders Aims To Be PM After Shock Win In Dutch Election

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After a historic election victory that will have an impact on the Netherlands and beyond, far-right populist Geert Wilders declared his desire to become prime minister of the Netherlands and that he would concentrate his efforts on limiting immigration.

With the European Parliament elections scheduled for June of next year, which are expected to be fought on the same issues as the Dutch election—immigration, the cost of living, and climate change—Wilderers’ victory served as a warning to mainstream parties throughout Europe.

“We’ve had it with the old politicians,” voter Herman Borcher said in the eastern town of Enschede, summing up the mood.

Supporter of both the euroskeptic prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban and the former US president Donald Trump, Wilders is blatantly anti-Islamic and anti-EU, stating that “the Netherlands will be returned to the Dutch.”

But he will have to make concessions because other parties he needs to work with to form a coalition government will reject his most radical ideas, especially any plans to ban the Koran or pull the nation out of the EU.

Despite this, populists throughout the continent have embraced his victory as evidence that “a new Europe is possible.”

Surpassing all projections, the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of departing Prime Minister Mark Rutte secured 24 seats, while Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) secured 37 seats out of 150 on Wednesday. Months should pass before coalition talks conclude.

“I would be very happy to become the Dutch prime minister, of course,” Wilders told party members who welcomed him with champagne and cake, adding that he was willing to negotiate.

“We are eager to do that, because it gives us a lot of responsibilities, this huge win at the Dutch elections, and we really want to live up to it.”

In response, Wilders declared that he supported a referendum on the Netherlands’ exit from the European Union.

“But the first thing is a significant restriction on asylum and immigration,” Wilders said. “We don’t do that for ourselves, we do that for all Dutch people who voted for us”.

According to data from Statistics Netherlands, net migration to the Netherlands increased to approximately 223,000 persons in 2022 from a year earlier. A quarter of new arrivals last year had a background in Ukraine, and about 64% of immigrants were of European descent.

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