Wilders won the Dutch elections in a backlash against antiSemitic protests

A rapid analysis of the Dutch election by Eric Hendriks

Geert Wilders’ Islam-critical party PVV jumped ahead in the final weeks and days of the 
Dutch general election, enabled by Islamism’s return to the front pages in the wake of 
Hamas’ terror attack of October 7. The Gaza War and anti-Israel protests, which also in the Netherlands were frequently hijacked by anti-Semites, Islamists, and Hamas apologists, seem to have reminded Dutch voters of longstanding worries about Islamization and migration from the Middle East. Yet, despite the logical nexus between those worries and Wilders’ electoral surge, the extent of this surge only became apparent when the exit polls came out. Up to election day, PVV had polled on par with three centrist parties. However, shocking the political and journalistic order, PVV won by a landslide, capturing 37 seats out of 150, a quarter of the Dutch lower house. It eclipses GL/PvdA, an alliance between the Social Democrats and the Greens, led by former European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, which came in a distant second with 25 seats. The right-liberal VVD of outgoing Prime Minister Rutte, now led by Dilan Yeşilgöz, won 24 seats. NSC (New Social Contract), a split-off from the Christian Democratic CDA, gained 20 seats, primarily based on the popularity of its frontman, the able parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt. The rest of the total of 26 competing parties remained small or disappeared from the map.

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