Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Patrick Post/PA Mark Rutte will have a third term as Dutch Prime Minister.
# tried and tested
Dutch voters have rejected Geert Wilders' play to be an anti-Islam Prime Minister
Current PM Mark Rutte has seen his off Wilders’ challenge comfortably.

THE NETHERLAND’S MAIN exit poll suggests that anti-Islam firebrand Geert Wilders had an unexpectedly poor showing during the Dutch elections, finishing far behind Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

For Wilders, the poll was a test whether his fiery nationalist rhetoric caught the imagination of the population.

Even if he increased his total in the 150-seat legislature from 15 to 19, it is a disappointment since his PVV party was seeking to become the biggest party.

Instead, the poll suggests Rutte has 31 seats.

For the two-time prime minister Rutte, the poll indicated that an economic recovery and his hard-line handling of a diplomatic dispute with Turkey over the past week has won him support.

The Ipsos polling company gave Rutte’s party 31 of the 150 seats in the lower house of parliament, compared to 19 seats for 3 other parties, including that of Wilders. Weeks or months of coalition talks are expected to follow.

Of the other parties, exit polls show the Green Party jumping from just over 2% to nearly 11% and Dutch Labour falling from 25% to  6%.

The Green’s leader Jesse Klaver is the youngest of all the parties at just 30 years of age.

His youth and resemblance to the Canadian Prime Minister has seen him labelled the as ‘the Dutch Justin Trudeau’.

A Wilders victory would have further boosted the fortunes of populists across Europe.

Both Rutte and Wilders had defined today’s Dutch parliamentary election as a litmus test for populism in Europe, where France and Germany also face crucial contests in the months ahead.

Once the official results are announced on next Tuesday by the elections commission, the new Dutch parliament will be installed on Thursday 23 March.


It’s likely to take months before a government is formed.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

Explainer: Is the Netherlands about to take a big jump to the far-right? >

Read: ‘The Dutch Trump’ and PM Rutte go head-to-head in Netherlands’ elections >