With nearly all ballots counted, veteran anti-Islamic populist leader Geert Wilders has emerged victorious in the Dutch general election.

His Freedom party (PVV), which has been in parliament for 25 years, is expected to gain 37 seats, far more than his closest opponent, a left-wing coalition.

“The PVV can no longer be ignored,” he stated. “We will govern.”

His victory has rocked Dutch politics and will undoubtedly stun the rest of Europe.

Nevertheless, he will need to convince other parties to form a coalition with him in order to carry out his promise to serve as “prime minister for everyone”. His goal is to gain 76 of the parliament’s 150 seats.

On Thursday, in a room full of TV cameras, partygoers toasted and applauded Mr. Wilders, 60, during a party meeting.

In order to become prime minister, he “of course” said to the BBC that he would be prepared to bargain and make concessions to other parties.

After capitalizing on the general dissatisfaction with migration, the leader of PVV won by vowing “borders closed” and postponing his pledge to outlaw the Koran.

During his victory speech, he was a confrontational man, saying, “We want to govern and we will govern.” [The seat numbers are] both a great honor and a great responsibility.”

Prior to the election, the three major parties refused to support a government led by Wilders due to his extreme right-wing views. But given the magnitude of his triumph, that might alter.

Predictions based on 94% of the vote showed that the left-wing alliance, led by former EU commissioner Frans Timmermans, finished a distant second with 25 seats.

Declaring he would stand up for Dutch democracy and the rule of law, he made it clear he would not support a government led by Wilders. “No one in the Netherlands will be allowed to leave. “Everyone is equal in the Netherlands,” he informed his fans.

That leaves a brand-new party founded by MP Pieter Omtzigt, a whistleblower, in fourth place and the third-placed center-right liberal VVD, led by new leader Dilan Yesilgöz. Both parties have congratulated him on the outcome.

Ms. Yesilgöz says it is up to her party colleagues to determine how to respond, even if she doubts Mr. Wilders will be able to locate the numbers he needs. She was adamant prior to the election that she would not participate in a cabinet headed by Wilders, but she did not rule out collaborating with him should she win.

Initially declaring that his party, the New Social Contract, would not collaborate with Mr. Wilders, Mr. Omtzigt now states that his party is “available to turn this trust [of voters] into action.”

Given that the Netherlands was one of the original members of what eventually became the European Union, a Wilders triumph would be felt throughout the continent.

Leaders of the far-right and nationalist movements in Europe praised his accomplishment. Marine Le Pen stated that it “confirms the growing attachment to the defence of national identities” in France.

Despite acknowledging that there isn’t a popular sentiment to do so, Mr. Wilders wants to stage a “Nexit” referendum to exit the EU. It will be difficult for him to persuade any significant potential coalition partner to agree to that.

In the lead-up to the vote, he softened his criticism of Islam by stating that other matters took precedence and that he was ready to “put in the fridge” his plans to outlaw mosques and Islamic schools.

His PVV party’s representation in parliament more than doubled as a result of the successful plan.

Mr. Wilders capitalized on the general discontent with the previous government during the campaign, which broke down over policies around asylum.

Martin Rosema, a political scientist at the University of Twente, said that Mr. Wilders had received multiple gifts on a platter in a few months. Another was that the head of the center-right liberal party had made it possible to form a partnership with him.

“We know, also from international precedent, that radical right-wing parties fare worse when they’re excluded,” he stated.

One of the primary themes was migration, and Mr. Wilders stated on Wednesday that he planned to address a “tsunami of asylum and immigration”.

A portion of the 220,000+ net migration into the Netherlands last year came from refugees escaping Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the lack of about 390,000 dwellings has made the problem worse.

The supporters of Ms. Yesilgöz’s VVD were getting ready to toast the possibility of having the first female prime minister of the Netherlands at their Hague headquarters.

However, when the exit polls appeared on the displays, everyone gasped in shock and they rushed around their phones, attempting to figure out what went wrong.

Following the resignation of the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, Mark Rutte, in July, Ms. Yesilgöz assumed leadership of the center-right party. She arrived in the Netherlands as a seven-year-old Turkish refugee, but she now takes a strict stance against immigration.

She has been charged by certain politicians and Muslim leaders of providing a platform to the far right by not ruling out collaborating with Geert Wilders.

Despite her best efforts, Ms. Yesilgöz, 46, who was the justice minister in the Rutte cabinet, was eventually unable to live up to public opinion polls.

Nearly half of the electorate was characterized as drifting voters up until election eve. It’s possible that many of them choose not to support her.

One voter who identified as Muslim in The Hague provided a gauge of Mr. Wilders’ effectiveness in gaining support when she stated, “If he wasn’t so opposed to Muslims, I’d be interested in him.”

Mr. Wilders told the BBC that he was optimistic about his chances just hours before the vote. “I think it’s the first time ever in Holland that in one week we gained 10 seats in the polls.”

Even while he acknowledged that establishing a government led by him would be a difficult effort, he remained optimistic that victory would make it “difficult for the other parties to ignore us”.