Dutch Far-Right Prime Minister Candidate Confident of Winning Election

The upcoming general election in the Netherlands is being seen as the first test of populism in Europe this year. After Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, Dutch prime minister candidate Geert Wilders believes he and his party will be victorious after the ballots are counted.

In the small Dutch town of Valkenburg, the firebrand Wilders, who is the leader of the Party for Freedom, is campaigning ahead of Wednesday's vote.

Sometimes referred to as the Dutch Donald Trump, Wilders is promising to make the Netherlands great again and share the U.S. president's opposition to Muslim immigrants.

"What I find really bad is that the borders are so open. There are a lot of people who have come to the Netherlands. And, of course, there are people who have to flee. I understand that. But there are also a lot of people who are just coming for a better life. They don't belong here," said a Valkenburg resident.

"A lot of things in this country are not going good. Not in France, not in Germany, not in Belgium. All over Europe is one mess at the moment. So we must change the politics a little bit harder," said another Valkenburg resident.

Opinion polls currently show that Wilders is running almost neck and neck with incumbent Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. But even if he wins more votes than any other candidates, it is unlikely that Wilders will become prime minister.

The Dutch political system always produces a coalition government and most other parties have vowed not to team up with Wilders. But that does not seem to bother him.

When asked whether he had a chance to become prime minister as other parties refuse to work with him, he showed strong confidence.

"It's the people who are in charge. They have to vote. If we would become the biggest party, we will see that in a week's time, it will become more difficult for the other parties to do what they are threatening to do now. Because for one reason it would insult so many people who voted for my party, but more pragmatic the alternative would be a four, five, maybe six party coalition that is totally un-Dutch, even though we are a coalition country, and that would not last very long. So I think that even though they are saying exactly what you are saying today that they might change their tune if the voter - it's not that far yet - if the voter would grant our party their confidence," Wilders said.

The results of the vote on Wednesday will test the strength of European populism and set the stage for elections later this year in France and Germany, where right-wing nationalism is on the rise.


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