Far-right leader Geert Wilders will not become next Dutch prime minister

March 15, 2024 | by


Far-right leader Geert Wilders has announced that he will not be the next Dutch prime minister. Despite the popularity of his anti-immigration rhetoric and controversial policies, Wilders’ party, the Party for Freedom, did not secure enough seats in the recent parliamentary elections to form a governing coalition. This outcome marks a significant setback for Wilders and his far-right agenda, as his chances of attaining the country’s top political position now seem highly unlikely. While his party remains a prominent force in Dutch politics, with the third-largest number of seats in parliament, Wilders’ aspirations for prime minister have been thwarted for the time being.


In the recent Dutch prime ministerial election, far-right leader Geert Wilders failed to secure the position. This article will provide a comprehensive analysis of the election, the factors that worked against Wilders, and the potential impact of his non-victory. It will also examine the challenges faced by far-right movements globally and the importance of coalition building in Dutch politics. Furthermore, the article will consider the role of demographics in shaping the election outcome and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Wilders’ campaign.

Background on Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders is a prominent figure in Dutch politics known for his far-right populist ideology. He has been an influential player in the political arena for many years, with a strong focus on anti-Islam and anti-immigration rhetoric. Wilders founded the Party for Freedom (PVV) in 2006 and has been its leader ever since.


Political career

Wilders has had a long and controversial political career, marked by his strong stance against Islam and immigration. He has been a member of the Dutch Parliament since 1998, initially representing the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) before founding the PVV. Wilders has been known for his outspoken views, which have often attracted both support and criticism.

Populist ideology

Wilders’ political ideology can be classified as populist, as he appeals to the grievances and concerns of the general population. His key positions focus on opposition to immigration, Euroscepticism, and Islam. Wilders portrays himself as a defender of Dutch national identity and culture against perceived threats.


Previous election results

Wilders and the PVV have seen varying levels of success in previous elections. In the 2010 general election, the PVV became the third-largest party in the Dutch Parliament with 24 seats. However, in subsequent elections, their support waned slightly, winning 15 seats in 2012 and 20 seats in 2017. These fluctuating results have highlighted the PVV’s limited ability to attract a majority of voters.

Dutch prime ministerial election

The Dutch prime ministerial election takes place every four years and determines the leader of the government. The election process is based on proportional representation, meaning that the number of seats a party receives in parliament corresponds to the percentage of the popular vote they receive.


Overview of the election process

The election process in the Netherlands is characterized by a high level of political fragmentation, with numerous parties competing for seats. Parties must secure a minimum of 0.67% of the popular vote to gain representation in parliament. The largest party typically forms a coalition government with smaller parties to achieve a parliamentary majority.

Other candidates running

In the recent election, Wilders faced stiff competition from a range of candidates representing various political parties. The incumbent Prime Minister, Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), was one of the front-runners. Other significant candidates included Sigrid Kaag of the Democrats 66 (D66) party and Lilian Marijnissen of the Socialist Party (SP).


Public opinion and polling data

Public opinion and polling data leading up to the election suggested that Wilders and the PVV were not likely to emerge as the leading party. Several opinion polls consistently placed the VVD, led by Rutte, as the favorite to win the election. These polls indicated that the PVV would struggle to build a broad coalition of support.

Factors working against Wilders

Despite his strong rhetoric and previous successes, Wilders faced several significant challenges that worked against him in the recent election.

Political alliances

Wilders’ far-right ideology and controversial reputation made it difficult for other mainstream parties to form alliances with him. Many parties were hesitant to work with the PVV due to their differing ideologies, especially concerning immigration and integration policies. This lack of potential coalition partners limited Wilders’ ability to form a government.

Negative public sentiment

While Wilders has maintained a loyal support base, his divisive rhetoric and controversial policies have also alienated many voters. Some members of the Dutch public have grown wary of his anti-Islam stance and populist tactics, leading to skepticism about his suitability as prime minister. This negative sentiment towards Wilders contributed to his inability to gain significant momentum in the election.

Controversial policies and statements

Wilders’ policies, particularly his strong opposition to Islam and his proposal to ban the Quran, have sparked controversy and drawn criticism from both domestic and international communities. These policies, coupled with his inflammatory statements, have eroded trust and support among some voters. This controversy likely contributed to Wilders’ inability to build a broader coalition and gain widespread support in the election.

Challenges faced by far-right movements

The recent Dutch prime ministerial election reflects broader challenges faced by far-right movements around the world. While these movements have gained prominence in some countries, they have encountered significant obstacles in maintaining sustained success.

International backlash

Far-right movements often face international backlash due to their anti-immigration and nationalist policies. The global community, particularly European Union member states, may express disapproval and impose sanctions if countries align themselves with far-right ideologies. This international pressure can limit the appeal and influence of these movements.

Growing support for liberal values

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of support for liberal values, including tolerance, diversity, and equality. Many voters, especially younger generations, have rejected the populist and nationalist rhetoric put forth by far-right movements. The shift towards more progressive values has challenged the growth of far-right ideologies in many countries.

Successes and failures of far-right movements in other countries

Far-right movements have achieved varying levels of success in different countries, providing insights into their strengths and weaknesses. While some movements, such as in Hungary and Poland, have gained significant power and influence, others, like Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France, have faced setbacks. These diverse outcomes illustrate the complexities and uncertainties surrounding far-right movements’ ability to maintain political momentum.

Importance of coalition building

In the Dutch political landscape, forming a coalition government is essential due to the proportional representation system. This reality introduces additional challenges for far-right movements like the PVV.

Necessity of forming a coalition government

Given that no single party typically wins an outright majority in Dutch elections, forming a coalition government is necessary to secure a parliamentary majority and effectively govern. This necessity creates a hurdle for far-right movements as they need to find willing coalition partners.

Ideological differences with other parties

Far-right movements often face difficulties finding compatible coalition partners due to ideological differences. The PVV’s strong anti-Islam and anti-immigration stance, for example, has limited its ability to build coalitions with mainstream parties endorsing more inclusive policies. This ideological mismatch further isolates far-right movements and hampers their chances of governing.

Compromises and negotiations

Coalition building requires compromises and negotiations among diverse parties. Far-right movements may struggle to find common ground with more centrist or progressive parties, which can hinder their ability to shape policies aligned with their core values. The need to compromise may also alienate far-right supporters who expect uncompromising adherence to their party’s positions.

Potential impact of Wilders’ non-victory

While Geert Wilders and the PVV did not emerge as the leading party in the Dutch prime ministerial election, their non-victory still holds important implications for Dutch politics and far-right movements in Europe.

Continuation of current government policies

The election outcome suggests the continuity of the current government’s policies. The VVD, as the leading party, is likely to retain its influence and shape the direction of Dutch governance. This outcome may mean the continuation of moderate policies with a focus on economic stability and international cooperation.

Implications for far-right movements in Europe

Wilders’ non-victory highlights the challenges faced by far-right movements across Europe. The election outcome in the Netherlands, coupled with setbacks experienced by other far-right parties in recent years, suggests that far-right movements may struggle to maintain their momentum and appeal to wider electorates in the long term.

Shift in political landscape

The election results in the Netherlands may signify a broader shift in the political landscape. The growing support for progressive values and the rejection of far-right ideologies by younger generations indicate a changing electorate. This shift poses new challenges for far-right movements and may shape the direction of politics in the years to come.

Analysis of Wilders’ campaign

Examining Wilders’ campaign strategies and messaging provides insights into both the strengths and weaknesses of his approach.

Campaign strategies and messaging

In his campaign, Wilders focused on themes of national identity, immigration, and Islam. He utilized populist tactics to appeal to voters’ frustrations and fears, promising to protect Dutch culture and sovereignty. Wilders also used social media and traditional media to disseminate his messages, reaching a wide audience.

Strengths and weaknesses of the campaign

One of the strengths of Wilders’ campaign was its ability to mobilize a loyal support base. His anti-Islam and anti-immigration rhetoric resonated with some voters who felt neglected by mainstream parties. However, the campaign’s controversial and divisive nature also limited its appeal to a broader electorate. Many voters were put off by the PVV’s extreme positions and found the campaign lacking in concrete policy proposals.

Role of media and social media

Wilders’ campaign utilized both traditional media channels, such as televised debates and newspaper interviews, and social media platforms to spread his message. His social media presence allowed him to bypass traditional gatekeepers and directly connect with his supporters, enhancing his campaign’s reach and impact. However, this approach also exposed Wilders to criticism and scrutiny from opponents and fact-checkers.

The role of demographics

Demographics played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the Dutch prime ministerial election and deserve analysis.

Impact of changing demographics in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has experienced significant demographic shifts in recent years, with an increasingly diverse population due to immigration and changing birth rates. These demographic changes have influenced voter preferences and political dynamics. Younger generations, in particular, tend to be more socially liberal and can be less receptive to far-right ideologies.

Youth voter engagement

Youth voter engagement is an essential factor in contemporary politics. In the Dutch election, younger voters made up a significant portion of the electorate and had a strong impact on the final results. Far-right movements like the PVV often face challenges in attracting and retaining younger voters, who tend to be more supportive of progressive policies and reject far-right ideologies.

Resistance to far-right ideology

As demonstrated in the recent election, there is a significant portion of the Dutch electorate that resists far-right ideology. Voters who value tolerance, diversity, and inclusivity have shown a willingness to reject parties like the PVV, signaling the importance of these values in shaping the political landscape.


Geert Wilders’ failure to secure the position of Dutch prime minister in the recent election reflects broader challenges faced by far-right movements. The election outcome suggests a continuity of current government policies and highlights the difficulties far-right movements encounter in forming coalitions and gaining broader support. The role of demographics, youth voter engagement, and resistance to far-right ideology have all played significant roles in shaping the election outcome. As far-right movements continue to navigate the complexities of contemporary politics, understanding these factors is crucial for analyzing their successes and failures.



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