Relief as Dutch snub far-right in election

Although Geert Wilders tried his best to tip the election results in his favor by creating a wave of Islamophobic populism in Netherland, the huge margin by which Rutte won shows the Dutch people by large don't share these views and prefer to maintain their welcoming and tolerant attitude.

All mainstream parties have ruled out cooperating with Wilders' party. She has also pledged to hold a referendum on France's membership in the European Union if elected president.

Such was the relief that German Chancellor Angela Merkel called to congratulate him at a time when only exit polls were in.

For instance, because the French presidential election occurs in two rounds, much has been made of the prediction that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen will win the first round.

The anger and insecurity of voters was reflected in the increased vote for Mr Wilders and the wider fragmentation of Dutch politics, he said.

Despite the growing support for nationalist populism and sentiments against immigrants and the European Union, the current conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his coalition were able to secure the majority of the seats.

"You look at the social democrats and the fascist Wilders, there is no difference, they have the same mentality", Cavusoglu said, quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu, referring to the ruling Liberal VVD party which won the most seats against Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV).

The Freedom party was in second place on 20 seats, a gain of five, with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the liberal D66 party close behind with 19 seats each. However, most support policies that limit immigration in the Netherlands. The big loser of the night was Rutte's current coalition partner, the Labor Party, which fell from 38 seats to a paltry nine.

More news: Burglary at Bellagio Hotel and Casino prompts lockdown on Vegas strip

The setback Mr Wilders suffered in The Netherlands is encouraging and gives hope to all pro-European parties in Europe, especially as we celebrate the EU's 60th anniversary. We are now the 2nd party in the Netherlands.

Populist Geert Wilders was defeated at the polls, although his party will have the second largest contingent in the parliament. A recent diplomatic row between Turkey and the Netherlands helped Rutte by allowing him to take a strong stance against a majority Muslim nation and appease some on the right.

The party program also mentions a ban on headscarves in public. It's the start of a highly choreographed process of forming a new government that will last for weeks if not months.

Although victorious, the two leading establishment parties lost serious ground.

The election was closely watched across Europe as the first major test of the continent's perceived wave of far-right populism most embodied by the Brexit referendum a year ago that saw Britons vote to leave the European Union over is lenient immigration policies.

"Congratulations to the Netherlands for having halted the advance of the far right", tweeted Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister.

Louise Hoon, Flemish Free University of Brussels: "Well I think indeed this interpretation that is now generally presented in the worldwide media that there's been no from Dutch voters to populism, I think we should also be careful with taking that too seriously because, as I said, it's also an effect of the Dutch electoral system".

  • Adam Floyd