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Dutch election: Anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders wins dramatic victory

Veteran anti-Islam populist leader Geert Wilders has won a dramatic victory in the Dutch general election, with almost all votes counted, the BBC reports.

After 25 years in parliament, his Freedom party (PVV) is set to win 37 seats, well ahead of his nearest rival, a left-wing alliance.

“The PVV can no longer be ignored,” he said. “We will govern.”

His win has shaken Dutch politics and it will send a shock across Europe too.

But to fulfil his pledge to be “prime minister for everyone”, he will have to persuade other parties to join him in a coalition. His target is 76 seats in the 150-seat parliament.

The PVV leader won after harnessing widespread frustration about migration, promising “borders closed” and putting on hold his promise to ban the Koran.

Before the vote, the three other big parties ruled out taking part in a Wilders-led government because of his far-right policies. But that might change because of the scale of his victory.

The left-wing alliance under ex-EU commissioner Frans Timmermans has come a distant second with 25 seats, according to a forecast based on 94% of the vote.

He made clear he would have nothing to do with a Wilders-led government, promising to defend Dutch democracy and rule of law. “We won’t let anyone in the Netherlands go. In the Netherlands everyone is equal,” he told supporters.

That leaves third-placed center-right liberal VVD under new leader Dilan Yesilgöz, and a brand new party formed by whistleblower MP Pieter Omtzigt in fourth – both have congratulated him on the result.

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