The far-right politician Geert Wilders is poised to become the next Dutch prime minister after making major gains in regional elections.
Municipal results announced on Thursday put his party in first place in Almere, a region near Amsterdam and second in The Hague, one the country’s largest cities and the seat of the Dutch government. If repeated in national elections on June 9, the Freedom Party could win 27 out of 150 seats, becoming the largest single party and putting him in line to become prime minister and form a new government.
Mr Wilders has called Islam a backward religion, wants a ban on headscarves in public life and has compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
“We are going to conquer the entire country we are going to be the biggest party in the country,” he said after the vote. “The leftist elite still believes in multiculturalism, coddling criminals, a European superstate and high taxes. But the rest of the Netherlands thinks differently. That silent majority now has a voice.”