Geert Wilders, latest spoilsport in very close legislative elections

The Dutch go to the polls on Wednesday, November 22, to decide who will succeed Mark Rutte, in power since 2010. The liberal leader ended his coalition in July, following yet another quarrel between his Party for freedom and democracy (VVD, liberal) and its three allies. This time it focused on asylum policy, one of the main subjects at the heart of the campaign which is ending.

This, which revolved a lot around Pieter Omtzigt and his party, the New Social Contract, ends with an unknown: whether the dissident from the Christian Democratic party, supporter of a “new governance”, has long occupied front of the stage and at the top of the numerous polls which punctuated the campaign, three of his rivals seemed, on Wednesday, able to steal pole position from him. Among them – and this is the most unexpected – Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), the far-right group he founded in 2006.

Opinion surveys, which may be published until the day before the election in the Netherlands, indicate that the anti-Islam populist MP could well be the other spoilsport in a decidedly very indecisive election. The latest poll, published Tuesday November 21 by Ipsos, promised him 27 deputies, out of the 150 in the Second Chamber. Twenty-nine seats would go to Dilan Yesilgöz, the current Minister of Justice, who succeeds Mark Rutte as head of the Liberal Party list, and 24 to Frans Timmermans, former European Commissioner, at the head of the left-wing list bringing together the social democrats and the ecologists. Mr. Omtzigt would win 19 seats, far from the expected performance.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In the Netherlands, the unexpected Pieter Omtzigt will be the referee of the left-right duel during the legislative elections

On Tuesday, just over 40% of voters said they were certain of their vote, with the others saying they had not yet definitively opted for one of the 21 parties in the running. Enough, perhaps, to reserve other surprises.

Timmermans’ call for a “useful vote”

Over the course of a very active campaign, Mr. Wilders, who, at 60, undoubtedly sees his last chance to participate in a government, moderated his most radical comments on the Koran – which he wanted to ban – and mosques. – which he wanted to close. This time, he opted to defend a program with a strong social connotation. Entitled “The Dutch First”, it now calls for priority attention for the health sector, an increase in the number of places in retirement homes and an active fight for purchasing power.

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