The Hague : The Party for Freedom (PVV) led by veteran anti-Islam populist leader Geert Wilders is leading the 2023 Dutch parliamentary elections, according to a first exit poll issued by public broadcaster NOS.
After 25 years in parliament, the PVV is on a predicted 35 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, or the lower house of Parliament, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Green Left-Labor alliance led by Frans Timmermans is second on a predicted 26 seats.
The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which won the previous four elections with outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, is forecast to end up with 23 seats with its new leader Dilan Yesilgoz-Zegerius.
The New Social Contract (NSC) led by Pieter Omtzigt ranked fourth with 20 seats.
“The biggest party!” Wilders said in a victory speech on Wednesday night.
“The voter has spoken. The Dutch people want their country back. The Dutch people will be number one again.”
If confirmed, the PVV, founded in 2006, is set to become the biggest party in the Netherlands.
The result came unexpected as the latest polls predicted a close match between the PVV, the VVD and Green Left-Labor alliance.
In the previous elections held in 2021, Rutte’s VVD won with 34 seats, before the Democrats 66 (D66) that won 24 seats and the PVV with 17 seats.
D66, led by Rob Jetten, is now predicted to get 10 seats, according to the latest exit poll.
The farmers’ movement BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) will get seven and five seats respectively.
The official results of the 2023 Dutch parliamentary elections are expected to be announced on December 1.