Celebration and apprehension follow victory of Dutch populist Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders wants to be the Netherlands' next prime minister after a landmark election win by his Freedom Party (PVV).

2023 11 22T221556Z 1210479696 RC2LI4AH3BCA RTRMADP 3 NETHERLANDS ELECTION REACTIONS WILDERS scaled
Dutch far-right politician and leader of the PVV party, Geert Wilders speaks to the press following the exit poll and early results in the Dutch parliamentary elections, in The Hague, Netherlands November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Geert Wilders, the Netherlands’ far-right leader, secured the highest number of votes, vowing to reduce immigration to the Netherlands. With 98% of votes counted, Wilders’ Freedom party (PVV) is projected to secure 37 seats, double its current count. Despite his plans to form a government and address immigration concerns, potential coalition challenges arise as leaders from major parties express reluctance to collaborate with him.

The election results positioned Wilders’ party ahead, followed by a leftwing alliance led by former EU climate chief Frans Timmermans with 25 seats, and the Liberal VVD with 23. Wilders emphasized his commitment to controlling what he termed an “asylum tsunami” and ensuring the Dutch reclaim their nation, asserting, “We can’t be ignored.” This victory is reverberating throughout the EU, particularly amid ongoing migration struggles.

Following is some of the reaction.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON:

Elections take place at regular intervals in the member states, and this has not per se put in doubt, in any way, the membership of any country in the European Union. We continue to count on the Netherlands’ strong participation in the EU, obviously.”

“The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union, a very strong member of our union.”

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER VIKTOR ORBAN:

“The winds of change are here! Congratulations to Geert Wilders on winning theDutch elections!”

FRENCH FAR-RIGHT LEADER MARINE LE PEN:

“Congratulations to Geert Wilders and the PVV for their spectacular performance in the legislative elections which confirms the growing attachment to the defence of national identities.

“It is because there are people who refuse to see the national torch extinguished that the hope for change remains alive in Europe.”

GERMAN EU MINISTER, ANNA LUEHRMANN:

“The high level of support for anti-European forces in the Netherlands is bitter. All pro-Europeans must now work to ensure that this does not happen again in the European elections. Because Europe protects our freedom, our democracy, and our security.”

EUROPEAN GREENS PARTY:

“The election result is very worrying and marks a clear shift to the far-right in the Netherlands. All democratic parties of the political centre must now join forces and prevent the progression of extremist ideologies.”

“With a view to the European elections, it is clear that we need to defend democratic principles and values even more strongly and urgently – in dialogue with the people and in public debates.”

BELGIAN FAR-RIGHT LEADER TOM VAN GRIEKEN:

“I would like to congratulate Geert Wilders on this victory. It is clear: the population is yearning for real change. Not only in the Netherlands, but also in Flanders. Parties like ours are coming all over Europe!”

SPANISH FAR-RIGHT LEADER SANTIAGO ABASCAL:

“More and more Europeans demand in the streets and at the polls that their nations, their borders and their rights be defended.”

ITALIAN FAR-RIGHT LEADER MATTEO SALVINI:

“Congratulations to our friend Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV and historic ally of the League, for this extraordinary electoral victory. A new Europe is possible.”

HABIB EL KADDOURI, HEAD OF DUTCH ORGANISATION REPRESENTING DUTCH MOROCCANS

“The distress and fear are enormous.”

“Wilders is known for his ideas about Muslims and Moroccans. We are afraid that he will portray us as second-class citizens.”

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH NETHERLANDS, INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF GRASSROOTS ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANISATIONS:

“A Wilders government will mean four years of climate change denial, exclusion and a breakdown of the rule of law.”

LABOUR/GREEN LEFT LEADER FRANS TIMMERMANS:

“Democracy has spoken, now it’s time for us to defend democracy, to defend the rule of law. We have to make a fist against exclusion, against discrimination.”

“It is clear that many people expect solutions from the right. Then the right should also show that.”

CONSERVATIVE, PRO-BUSINESS VVD PARTY LEADER DILAN YESILGOZ:

“It is up to Wilders to show he can form a majority. I don’t see it happening.”

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