The far-right politician Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) have emerged victorious in the Dutch parliamentary elections, securing 37 seats out of 150, according to the latest count encompassing 98 per cent of votes. 
The triumph of the infamous Islamophobe positions PVV ahead of a joint Labour/Green ticket and the conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), marking a historic moment as the first rightwing populist party to win parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.
NRC, a Dutch centre-right paper, stated,
“The Rutte era ends with a right-wing populist revolt that shakes [The Hague] to its foundations. The historic election victory that the PVV achieved on Wednesday exceeded all expectations.” 
As the PVV seeks to consolidate its win, the challenge lies in forming a coalition with at least two other parties to secure a majority and appoint a Prime Minister.
While a coalition with the VVD and the New Social Contract (NSC) party seems plausible, the road ahead is fraught with uncertainties, given the divergence in ideologies.
The PVV can no longer be ignored
The far-reaching implications of the PVV’s extreme rightwing ideals have sent ripples through Dutch opposition circles and across Europe and the world.
Despite the electoral success, forming a stable government may prove elusive, as leaders of the top three parties have ruled out joining a PVV-led coalition.
“Now is the time for us to defend democracy.” 
Frans Timmermans, leader of the Green/Labour bloc, emphasised the importance of resisting a coalition with PVV.
The VVD, while not categorically ruling out collaboration, faces internal conflicts, with Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, their party leader and top candidate, expressing reluctance to enter government with Wilders as Prime Minister.
Pieter Omtzigt, of the NSC party that previously expected to win 20 seats, softened his stance, indicating a willingness for coalition talks despite acknowledging the challenges ahead.
“I call on the parties. Now we will have to look for agreements with each other. The PVV can no longer be ignored.” 
Fear and concern among Dutch Muslims
Geert Wilders has himself recognised the complexity of coalition-building, urging parties to find common ground.
As parties convene to discuss their next steps, the question remains: can a broad coalition be forged to create a stable government in the face of this rightwing surge?
The PVV’s victory, marked by its anti-Islam, anti-EU platform, has stirred fear and concern among Muslim and Moroccan communities, constituting approximately five per cent of the Dutch population.
Habib El Kaddouri, the leader of an organisation that represents Dutch Moroccans, said,
“The distress and fear are enormous. We are afraid that he [Wilders] will portray us as second-class citizens.” 
While seeking votes, Wilders’ manifesto outlined extreme measures, including bans on Islamic schools, Qur’āns, and mosques, as well as proposing a binding referendum on a potential “Nexit” — a Dutch EU exit.
Whatever is the conclusion of what are expected to be drawn-out coalition discussions, the ramifications of this election are poised to redefine the political landscape of the Netherlands.
Wilders’ electoral triumph follows the victory of another like-minded, albeit more unusual and unhinged, far-right politician in Argentina. Javier Milei was elected President of Argentina last week. 
The rightwing former TV personality has promised to relocate Bueno Aires’ embassy in Israel to the occupied city of Jerusalem and to replace the peso with the dollar.
Many in the mainstream media are reacting with a degree of make-believe shock and surprise at the success of Geert Wilders' PVV party during Wednesday's parliamentary vote.
Let us be clear, this is nothing but a continuation of a serious lurch to the right in various European states and further afield.
Countries such as Hungary (with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán), Austria (think FPÖ), Poland (with the PiS), France (Marine Le Pen and RN), Germany (the AfD), and Italy (with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni) have all come before Geert Wilders' win a few days ago.
The most concerning aspect of Wilders' victory is that the collective far-right has gotten so mainstream that it is essentially the new centre. As leading Muslims like Muhammad Jalal, the host of The Thinking Muslim podcast have recently urged, Muslims require independent Muslim candidates in every seat contested at the ballot box.
Over the past seventeen years, the PVV has continuously managed to increase anti-Muslim sentiment in Dutch politics.
Ever since Wilders’ first electoral success in 2006, many political parties — including Labour — have kept on repeating that his voters ‘should not be ignored any more’; for the sake of winning their sympathy, the parties adopted Wilders’ anti-Muslim rhetoric, thinking that it would make them win back their electoral losses.
But they ended up feeding the far-right sentiment even more.
This year, according to many Dutch political analysts and Muslim and non-Muslim thinkers, Wilders’ enormous and unexpected last-minute success was thanks to other right-wing and liberal parties publicly announcing the possibility of a coalition with Wilders.
Again, the idea was to win potential PVV voters for themselves.
Little did they know, that if someone sounds like a far-right extremist, looks like a far-right extremist, and promises to work with a far-right extremist, people tend to choose the original far-right extremist.
This should be a painful lesson for Western politics: don’t try to look like what you try to compete with. It is time to present clear counter-alternatives to the far-right, so that people really will have something tangible and clearly different to choose.
In coming elections, people should have the possibility to decide if they are far-right extremists, or rather definitely not.
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