Thursday, November 23, 2023
The Netherlands, long regarded as one of Europe’s most socially liberal countries, woke up to a drastically changed political landscape on Thursday after a far-right party swept national elections in a result that has reverberated throughout Europe.
Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom, which advocates banning the Quran, closing Islamic schools and entirely halting the acceptance of asylum seekers, won 37 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, making it by far the biggest party, in a clear rebuke of the country’s political establishment.
The results, tabulated overnight after Wednesday’s voting, give Mr. Wilders enough support to try to form a governing coalition. Centrist and center-right parties long wary of the firebrand have left the door ajar to a possible partnership, giving Mr. Wilders a chance to become the Netherlands’ first far-right prime minister.
While people across the political spectrum expressed surprise at the election outcome, and the Dutch reputation of liberalism persists, experts say that Mr. Wilders succeeded by tapping into a discontent with government that dates back at least two decades.
Not just the far right, but the super-deduper extra far right!