Dutch election winner Geert Wilders is an anti-Islam firebrand known as the Dutch Donald Trump

 He’s been called the Dutch Donald Trump. He’s been threatened with death countless times by Islamic extremists, convicted of insulting Moroccans and Britain once banned him from entering the country.

Now Geert Wilders has won a massive vict

In his first reaction, posted in a video on X, formerly Twitter, he spread his arms wide, put his face in his hands and said simply “35!” — the number of seats an exit poll forecast his Party for Freedom, or PVV, won in the 150-seat lower house of parliament.ory in a Dutch election and is in pole position to form the next ruling coalition and possibly become the Netherlands’ next prime minister.

An exit poll revealing his landslide appeared to take even 60-year-old political veteran Wilders by surprise.

Wilders, with his fiery tongue has long been one of the Netherlands’ best-known lawmakers at home and abroad. His populist policies and shock of peroxide blond hair have drawn comparisons with Trump.

But, unlike Trump, he seemed destined to spend his life in political opposition.

The only time Wilders came close to governing was when he supported the first coalition formed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in 2010. But Wilders did not formally join the minority administration and brought it down after just 18 months in office in a dispute over austerity measures. Since then, mainstream parties have shunned him.

They no longer can.

“The PVV wants to, from a fantastic position with 35 seats that can totally no longer be ignored by any party, cooperate with other parties,” he told cheering supporters at his election celebration in a small bar in a working class suburb of The Hague.

Whether he can piece together a stable coalition with former political foes remains to be seen.

As well as alienating mainstream politicians, his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric also has made him a target for extremists and led to him living under round-the-clock protection for years. He has appeared in court as a victim of death threats, vowing never to be silenced.

Voting Wednesday at The Hague City Hall, Wilders was flanked by burly security guards scanning the cavernous space for possible threats. He has moved from one safe house to another over nearly two decades.

by Nadeem Faisal Baiga source AP