London Times reports:
The Freedom Party of the anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders emerged as the third force in Dutch politics last night, more than doubling its number of seats in Parliament in the country’s general elections.This is a huge gain for Wilders and while it won't put him at the top of the Netherlands' government, it will give him significantly more power within it.
Exit polls predicted that Mr Wilders would command 23 seats, up from 9 — pushing the Christian Democrats, led by the outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, into fourth place.
What still remains to be seen is which of the two parties that will hold more seats than Wilders' Freedom Party will come out on top - either the Dutch Labour Party or the Liberal Party (VVD). Unlike in the U.S., that "Liberal" Party is actually a right-wing party that ran on a platform of cost-cutting. Of the two, that is the one that would benefit Wilders the most when it coalition time comes. As of this writing, it was still too close to call. Either Labour or VVD will end up with 31 seats. At 23, Wilders' Freedom Party will be significant.
Job Cohen, the head of Labour, doesn't seem to like Wilders much while the head of VVD, Mark Rutte, might include putting Wilders on his Cabinet.
Mr Wilders, who wants to ban Muslim veils and the building of new mosques, is constitutionally bound to take part in coalition talks. He could be offered a place in a Cabinet chosen by Mr Rutte, who has said that the Freedom Party is “just another party”, but Mr Cohen has ruled out on moral grounds sharing power with the controversial critic of Islam on moral grounds.What I find interesting is Wilders' rise in conjunction with Turkey's bold lurch toward overt support of the Gaza flotilla, Hamas, and Islamic fundamentalism in general. I don't want to overstate it but we could be witnessing a re-make of how Winston Churchill came to power as the rise of Turkey continues.
UPDATE: Breitbart reporting that Rutte's VVD Party ended up with 31 seats with Labour getting 30. This would appear to be more good news for Wilders.
More at Times Online