Local election results from the Netherlands are sending shockwaves through the country after the far-right PVV party of Geert Wilders made strong gains.
Wilder’s anti-Islamic party gained a town of 150,000, Almere, and came second in The Hague, at the expense of the two big traditional parties of government.
“I’m a happy man. We have a mandate to govern here in Almere, and that’s what we’ll try to do, here and in The Hague. I guess my colleagues will start tomorrow,” said Wilders.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s Christian Democrats remain the largest party, but for how long? Some worry Wilders could take top spot in June’s general election.
“All that Wilders and his people come up with is headscarf bans. What are we talking about? I find it so terrible, and I’m ashamed.”
“We don’t know this party at all. He talks a lot, but you know nothing. I want to see results, then you can judge, not before,” were just two voters’ opinions.
With the mainstream left and right parties floundering other fringe groups like the Greens and far-left did well too, but Wilders PVV may now command a quarter of the electorate, which could be a political game-changer in three months time.