THE HAGUE: Far-right politician Geert Wilders was Monday named by a television poll as Dutch politician of the year as his Freedom Party gains ground amid a polarising debate on Europe's migrant crisis.
Wilders won 25 percent of the 37,000 votes cast, and became the first politician to win the annual award three times from the Een Vandaag (one Today) programme, broadcast on the public broadcaster Netherlands 1.
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"He has a feel for the concerns that many Dutch people have about asylum seekers," wrote one participant in the poll which has run since 2004.
The news came as Dutch officials revealed the country will this year break all records for the number of migrants seeking asylum in The Netherlands.
So far by mid-November, some 54,000 people had requested asylum in the country, surpassing the last record of 52,500 requests made in 1994 at the height of the Balkans conflict.
"It is great to be chosen by the public as Politician of the Year. It is a huge honour," Wilders said in a statement.
He added it was "an encouragement to fight even harder for the interests of the Netherlands and the Dutch people in 2016."
Opinion polls show that Wilders's party, the anti-immigrant PVV, is on track to win more than 35 seats in the 150-seat Lower House if elections -- not due to be held until 2017 -- were to be held today.
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Europe is grappling with its worse migrant crisis since World War II, and Wilder's message that he would close the country's borders is gaining traction with some Dutch voters.
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