Geert Wilders, a veteran anti-Muslim populist leader, won a dramatic victory in the Dutch general election with nearly all votes counted.
After 25 years in parliament, his Party for Freedom (PVV) is expected to win 37 seats, well ahead of his closest rival, the Left-wing Coalition.
“The PVV can no longer be ignored,” he said. “We will govern.”
His victory would shake up Dutch politics and send shockwaves throughout Europe.
But if he is to fulfill his promise to be a ‘Prime Minister for all’, he must persuade other parties to join the coalition.
His goal is to win 76 seats in the 150-member parliament. At Thursday’s party meeting, Mr Wilders, 60, was cheered and toasted by party members in a room packed with television cameras.
He told the BBC that “of course” he was willing to negotiate and compromise with other parties to become prime minister.
The PVV leader won after harnessing widespread frustration about migration, promising “borders closed” and putting on hold his promise to ban the Quran.
He was in combative mood in his victory speech: “We want to govern, and… we will govern. [The seat numbers are] an enormous compliment but an enormous responsibility too.”
Before the vote, the other three major parties had ruled out joining a government led by Wilders, citing his far-right policies.
However, that could change depending on the size of his victory. The left-wing alliance, led by former EU commissioner Frans Timmermans, is in a distant second place with 25 seats, based on projections based on 94% of the vote.
He has made it clear he has no ties to Wilders’ government and vowed to protect Dutch democracy and the rule of law. “We won’t let anyone in the Netherlands go. In the Netherlands, everyone is equal” he told supporters.
This leaves the centre-right Freedom Party VVD, led by new leader Dilan Yesilguez, in third place, and the brand new party founded by whistleblower Peter Omzicht in fourth place, with both parties celebrating the result.
Ms Yesilgöz doubts whether Mr Wilders will be able to come up with the numbers needed, but she says it will be up to her party colleagues to decide how to respond.
Before the election, she insisted she would not serve in Mr Wilders’ cabinet, but did not rule out cooperating with him if he won.