Speaking to reporters when casting his vote in the Dutch general election Wednesday, far-right candidate Geert Wilders told reporters: "Whatever the outcome of the election today, the genie will not go back into the bottle and this patriotic revolution, whether today or tomorrow, will take place."
Wilders went on to finish in second place, increasing his Party for Freedom's (PVV) seat count from 12 to 20. This is largely read as disappointment considering that Wilders was polling first until late February this year.
Analysts CNBC spoke to agreed that Wilders' reaction to the result would equal business as usual: continuing as a noisy member of the opposition while also shying away from concrete policy commitments. Florian Otto, head of Eurasia at Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC via e-mail that Wilders will "continue sniping from the side lines."
Otto also argued that Wilders' second place and likely exclusion from the next Dutch coalition government was a "blessing in disguise." Considering that his Party for Freedom increased its parliamentary seat count, it can tactically "sell the result as a success." Wilders will "capitalize on his party's exclusion from coalition negotiations" and "confirm perceptions among his supporters that they are disenfranchised," Otto explained.
Wilders' claim to the Hillary Clinton-esque argument of winning the popular vote but not power itself is complicated by the nuances of the Dutch multi-party system. Pepijn Bergsen, lead analyst for the Netherlands at the Economist Intelligence Unit told CNBC via telephone that the narrative of capturing the electorate's support will instead be handed to smaller parties which polled unexpectedly well, such as the Green party which won 14 seats – up from 4.
Wilders steamed ahead in polls late last year, with his party approval rating peaking at just under 21 percent in mid-December according to Reuters' survey aggregator. The anti-immigration, anti-Islam politician's score then took a largely downwards path. Other Dutch politicians vowed not to work with him.
Dina Pardijs, European Power program coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations, has argued that losing this particular election could make Wilders a winner in the long term. Pardijs pointed out that Wilders' content-light campaign, in which he published a one page policy document comprising of 11 bullet points on Facebook, serves as a means of growing support "without having to take responsibility for any real policy." For Pardijs, "Wilders can stay compromise-free until the moment where something fundamentally changes in the Netherlands" which would enable him to lead alone. She cited possible catalysts for this as either a terror attack in the country, or an economic crisis.
Some believe that Wilders' support will always have a ceiling among voters. Bergsen told CNBC's Squawk Box Monday that Wilders has "basically been talking to the same electorate for quite some time now."
Otto argued that "entering a coalition would demystify both Wilders and the PVV" and reveal them to be "ill-equipped for government." Meanwhile, Bergsen suggested that Wilders' influence lies in being a campaigner for his cause, rather than a governing politician. "He does not want to be in power – what does he have to gain?" Bergsen said.