The Netherlands’ anti-Islamic MP Geert Wilders appeared on course for major gains in a general election yesterday, more than doubling his party’s seats in the Dutch parliament and overtaking the incumbent ruling Christian Democrats, according to exit polls last night.
Wilders’ Freedom party looked to have taken third place in a close-fought election which in the end was tied between rightwing free-market liberals and the centre-left Labour Party, according to the projections.
Wilders, campaigning for a halt to Muslim immigration andmosque-building, and to a tax on Islamic head gear, increased his party’s seats from 9 to 23, according to exit polls. The result is far better than predicted, but left Wilders trailing behind the rightwing liberal VVD party and the centre-left Labour Party who were said to take 31 seats each. Wilders is due in court later this year to face charges of inciting racism,
The deadlock left the shape of future government utterly unclear last night, and presaging weeks of haggling – it appeared that a four-party coalition would be needed to assemble a majority.
Wilders is a potential kingmaker, with both the liberals and the Christian Democrats not ruling him out as a coalition partner.
Wilders hailed his result as “magnificent”