Anti-Islamisation politician Geert Wilders has been named politician of the year for the third time in a Dutch poll as his Freedom Party gains ground in the country.
In a survey of 37,000 people, Mr Wilders won 25 per cent of the vote, making him the first politician to win the vote three times. Dutch news site NDTV says he beat his nearest opponent, Green-Left leader Jesse Klaver, by 11 per cent. In third place, Labour’s finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem had just nine per cent.
Mr Wilders said in a statement: “It is great to be chosen by the public as Politician of the Year. It is a huge honour,” adding it was “an encouragement to fight even harder for the interests of the Netherlands and the Dutch people in 2016.”
His party is currently leading opinion polls in the country, with one poll recently suggesting they would win 35 out of 150 if elections were held tomorrow.
The poll comes just days after Mr Wilders endorsed U.S. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s proposed temporary halt on Muslim immigration.
Mr Wilders said: “I hope [Donald Trump] will be the next US President. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders”.
He added: “Also in The Netherlands, 100,000 Muslims – 11% – say it’s acceptable to use violence.”
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 10, 2015
In September, he called Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis an “Islamic invasion” that threatens the continent’s “prosperity, security, and identity”.
Then in November, he said that Europe should close its borders to Muslims, telling AFP: “I’m not asking for anything strange, I am asking that our government close its doors as Hungary did … that we close our borders to those we consider to be migrants, not refugees.”
Mr Wilders has also supported the “Draw Mohammed” campaign of Pamela Geller, pledging to show Mohammed cartoons on Dutch television.
“It will be like a walk though a museum – I will present the viewer a selection of the cartoons myself – first I will explain why I want to show the cartoons, because of what happened in Garland, Texas, and explain that it is not a provocation,” he said in an interview with Breitbart London.