Geert Wilders
Geert WildersReuters

Right-wing politician Geert Wilders won the most votes in the Dutch election with a landslide margin on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported, citing an exit poll.

The results put Wilders in line to lead talks to form a new ruling coalition and possibly become the country's prime minister.

The exit poll, published by the national broadcaster NOS, said Wilders' Party for Freedom won 35 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament, more than double the 17 he won at the last election.

If confirmed, Wilders would have to form a coalition government before he can take the reins of power. That will be tough as mainstream parties are reluctant to join forces with him and his Party for Freedom.

The exit poll was published as voting ended in the general election. It can have a margin of error of up to three seats, but generally is accurate within one or two seats, Ipsos said.

Wilders’ election program calls for a referendum on the Netherlands leaving the European Union, a total halt to accepting asylum-seekers and migrant pushbacks at the Dutch borders.

He is also known for his tough views on Islam, with his party having previously vowed to close mosques and “ban the Quran” in its manifesto.

His stance against Islam has in the past sparked outrage around the Muslim world and prompted death threats that have led to him living under round-the-clock protection.

In 2015, Wilders caused a storm in his country after he announced plans to broadcast cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam, on national television.

Wilders canceled a similar contest several years ago after police arrested a man who had threatened to kill him over his plan.

In 2020, a Dutch court cleared Wilders of inciting hatred and discrimination, but upheld his conviction for insulting a racial group after he led calls for "fewer Moroccans" in the Netherlands at a rally several years prior.