AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Dutch center-right ruling party emerged as the Netherlands’ largest in exit polls from the general elections Wednesday, despite predictions of a major electoral victory for the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders.
Volkskrant Daily exit polls showed Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy receiving 31 seats out of the Dutch lower house’s 150 and 19 for Wilders’ Party for Freedom.
Dutch media have hedged the exit poll results regarding the Party for Freedom, citing the reluctance of many of its voters to identify as supportive of the party.
Wilders was convicted of inciting discrimination in December for promising supporters to make sure the Netherlands has fewer Moroccans. He has called Islam a “fascist ideology” and supports banning the dissemination of the Quran, which he says should be subject to the same limitations imposed on Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Polls said 10% of Dutch Jews back the Party for Freedom.
Wilders, who in his youth lived for two years on an Israeli moshav in the Jordan Valley, has called Israel “a place where I feel home” and said it was “close to his heart.”