The controversial anti-Muslim far-right Dutch lawmaker and Freedom Party leader has scored big gains in Wednesday night’s local elections in the Netherlands.
“We’re going to take the Netherlands back from the leftist elite, that coddles criminals and supports Islamization,” said Wilders early Thursday.
The early results suggest that he won in the city of Almere around 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Amsterdam and came in second to the Dutch Labor Party in the Hague.
Wednesday’s voting in 394 cities, 10 days after the collapse of the centrist coalition government, in theory elects city councils to deal with matters such as parking fees and taxes on dog ownership. But the event is considered to be a dress rehearsal before the June 9 elections.
The country’s two largest parties, the conservative Christian Democrats and left-leaning Labor, both lost ground. Most left-leaning parties have said they will not work with Wilders.
Wilders is on trial for his provocative short documentary film, Fitna, which features passages from the Koran along with footages of terror attacks. The film’s screening in the Netherlands in 2008 provoked Muslim sentiments and prompted massive protests across the world.