Netherlands’ exit polls signalled a surprising turn as Geert Wilders’ conservative Party for Freedom (PVV) appeared poised to become the largest party in the Dutch parliament. Known for its anti-Islamist stance, PVV is projected to secure 35 seats, more than double its 2021 count. The victory could have significant repercussions across Europe. Despite the triumph, uncertainty looms over PVV’s ability to form a coalition with a working majority for government formation.
PVV’s proposals, such as banning mosques, the Quran, and Islamic headscarves in government buildings, have stirred debate. The party’s ascent to the forefront of the 150-seat parliament has garnered congratulations from other Right Wing European leaders, including Viktor Orbán, Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini, and Germany’s AfD. Nevertheless, obstacles persist as leaders of major Dutch parties express reluctance to join a PVV-led cabinet.
A noteworthy point is the potential delay in government formation, possibly extending into spring. The aftermath of the 2021 elections saw a 271-day wait for a 4-party coalition agreement. Experts anticipate a lengthier process this time. Meanwhile, incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte will continue as the caretaker, with the previous coalition’s dissolution attributed to disagreements on migration and other crucial issues.
Who is Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders, a prominent Right-Wing Dutch politician renowned for his staunch anti-Islamic stance, has been a controversial figure in Dutch politics for 25 years. Born on September 6, 1963, in Venlo, Netherlands, Wilders has never held an official office but has been a member of the Dutch House of Representatives since 1998 and the leader of the PVV since 2006.
Despite being under police protection since 2004, Wilders has courted ‘controversy’ with statements such as labelling Moroccans as “scum.” His anti-Islamist views, formed during his time in Israel from 1981 to 1983 and travels across the Middle East, have been central to his political career.
Wilders faced legal repercussions, including a discrimination conviction in 2014 for slogans raised during a campaign rally against Moroccans. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands upheld this conviction in 2021, a decision Wilders denounced as a result of a witch hunt within a broken legal system.
While tempering some of his views over time, Geert maintained a strict anti-immigration, Dutch-first approach that bolstered his popularity in elections. In October 2022, he expressed support for former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who faced backlash from Islamists for her remarks during a debate on Times Now.
In a post on X, Geert hailed Nupur Sharma as a hero speaking the truth, advocating for her recognition worldwide, and asserting Bharat as a Hindu nation. He urged the Dutch government to take a clear stand against violence targeting Hindus, emphasizing the need for robust defence against Islamic hate and violence.