During a debate between current Prime Minister Mark Rutte and far right leader Wilders, Rutte repeated once again that he “will not work together” with the Wilders’ Freedom Party.
A first attempt will nearly certainly be centred on Mr Rutte’s VVD party and the Christian Democrats (CDA) and Liberal Democrats (D66), who each won 19 seats.
The PVV gained four seats compared to the previous elections, but the result was thought to be a disappointment for its leader Geert Wilders, because his party had long led pre-election polls.
The centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and social-liberal D66 parties are set to tie in third place with 19 seats each, while the left-wing Socialist Party and greens of GroenLinks each have 14. And while Rutte’s VVD captured 33 seats, that figure is eight fewer than the last general election, in 2012.
But populist leaders across Europe pushed back on that assessment, noting that many of Mr Wilders’s ideas on immigration had featured prominently in the campaign – including from Mr Rutte, who ran a series of adverts telling immigrants to “be normal, or be gone”.
Perhaps the most enthusiastic reaction to the Dutch election came from mainstream politicians in France, where far-right leader Marine Le Pen is a serious threat. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the former president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, both congratulated Rutte on the result.
“I am hoping for a strong center” coalition with Rutte joining forces with other traditional parties, said Alexander van der Hooft.
Ms. Le Pen called the result which saw the PVV increase its seats in the parliament “extremely positive”. Since then, Le Pen has been closing the gap between her and Macron with latest polling showing that the difference is approaching single digits.
Dutch Muslims are breathing a sigh of relief after the worse-than-expected performance of anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders in this week’s election.
Coalitions of two or three parties are needed to govern in the Netherlands as no party has ever won an outright majority.
A spokeswoman for the Dutch bishops’ conference said the bishops would not formally react to the election, and stood by a February pastoral letter that urged voters not to “indulge in anger and intolerance”.
While a populist surge is still possible in the Dutch ballot, a host of other parties could also do well, leaving Dutch politics fragmented, the BBC reports.
Rutte has taken a tough stance on immigration to “fend off the challenge” from Wilders, who on Sunday called for Turks loyal to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to be expelled from the Netherlands.
Also, the Dutch prime minister suggested holding several meetings with leading parties to discuss the lineup of a coalition government, which could take several months to form. “Probably because he noticed [supporting Trump] was hurting him in the polls”, said Pepijn Bergsen, Netherlands analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Wednesday’s parliamentary election sees a total of 28 parties bidding for 150 seats in the lower house.
The perils of coalition building were on clear display Thursday. Analysts say the turn of event in might be the beginning of the rebuke of right wing populism in Europe.
The results were seen as a setback for European populist movements that strengthened after a migrant crisis hit many countries.