Far right’s Wilders wins a shock 23% of Dutch vote in exit poll
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The far right PVV, which wants to close the borders to all immigration and ban the Koran, is the big winner in the Dutch general election. The shock exit poll result, which had not been predicted, saw the party take 23% of the vote, doubling its support from 2021.

PVV leader Geert Wilders told a cheering crowd that the general election results show that the voters of the Netherlands have had enough. “The Dutchman will be back in first place,” he said. “The Netherlands has hope… the people of the Netherlands will get their country back and the tsunami of refugees and immigrants will be limited.”

At the same time, he said, the result is an enormous responsibility and the party had to do its best to make sure the hopes of the people of the Netherlands are realised. “We will have to work together with other parties,” he said. “We cannot be ignored.”

Counting the votes. Photo: Esther Zwennes

The GroenLinks/PvdA alliance, led by former European commissioner Frans Timmermans, is poised to win around 25 seats, the NOS exit poll showed, adding eight to the two parties’ current total. The VVD, which had seemed the sure winner, is in third place, with 24 seats.

Timmermans vowed to “defend democracy” in an emotionally charged speech, immediately after congratulating Geert Wilders on his victory. Timmermans roared over the noise of a cheering crowd: “We will defend the rule of law. The rule of law is sacred to us.”

Plea to supporters

He began his speech with a plea to his supporters to look out for each other. “Hold each other close. We don’t let anyone go in the Netherlands,” he said. “If in the coming days, in your neighbourhood, at school, at work, you come across people who ask after tonight: ‘Do I still belong here?’ then tell them: ‘Yes’.

“And do me a favour and say immediately: GroenLinks-PvdA has formed this partnership so we can say to you: ‘We’ve got your back’. In the Netherlands everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter where your crib stood, your parents’ crib or your grandparents’ crib. You absolutely belong.”

Rob Jetten, leader of D66, said that despite Wilder’s efforts to appear milder in his campaign, “his extreme ideas are still there in the background”. D66 is on target to win 10 seats, well down on its current total of 24 but better than had been forecast.

However, Jetten said, the VVD is also to blame. The party chose to allow the coalition to collapse in the summer “over the backs of refugees”.  The VVD has “opened the door” to the PVV by normalizing the politics of intolerance”.

Groningen University political scientist Leone de Jong told NOS that Jetten was right to partly blame the VVD. “The VVD let the cabinet fall over migration, but that theme has been claimed by the PVV and people prefer the original,” she said.

Dilan Yesilgöz surrounded by reporters. Photo: S Boztas

VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz denied her party had made a “tactical error” by dropping Mark Rutte’s block on Geert Wilders’s party. “I don’t think so. We’ve said the whole time that this is about the concerns of people who don’t feel listened to,” she told NOS. “If you keep ignoring them, the cabinet didn’t fall for no reason, then this is what you get. That’s the issue here.”

By midnight, just 23 towns and cities had published their results, and none of the big cities. The NOS exit poll has a one or two seat margin of error.

The NOS exit poll  (2021 results in brackets)

VVD: 24 (34)
PVV: 35 (17)
GL/PvdA: 25 (17)
NSC: 20 (0)
D66: 10 (24)
CDA: 5 (15)
BBB: 7 (1)
Volt: 2 (3)
PvdD: 4 (6)
ChristenUnie: 3 (5)
SGP: 3 (3)
FvD: 3 (8)
SP: 5 (9)
Denk: 3 (3)
JA21: 1 (3)
50+ 1: (1)
BIJ: 0 (1)

Catch up on the rest of Wednesday evening’s events with a look back at our live blog.

Would you like to share your thoughts on the election results? Please email editor@dutchnews.nl.

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