Netherlands to Vote in Parliamentary Elections TodayBy Darlene Powers Mar 16, 2017
Some European leaders were quick to suggest the Dutch results marked a halt to populism in Europe.
Following Britain's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's election as U.S. president, "the Netherlands said, 'Whoa!' to the wrong kind of populism", said Mr Rutte, who is now poised for a third term as prime minister. However, political analysts argued there was little chance of his Freedom Party garnering enough votes for him to become Prime Minister.
One Rutte campaigner told reporters that voters have given "trust again" to the ruling VVD party. "Tonight we'll celebrate a little".
The Christian Democrats party (CDA) and the liberal Democrats 66 party are now ranking close to the PVV, both with 19 seats.
A high turnout early on is more likely to be good news for opponents of Mr Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV), according to political science professor Sarah de Lange, of the University of Amsterdam.
The definite exit poll forecasted the VVD got 31 seats of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, or lower house of the parliament.
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Martin Schulz, Merkel's primary rival in September's electoral test, said he was "relieved" Wilders lost. What appears pretty certain now, though, is that this government will not include Geert Wilders. Attention centered on the performance of far-right anti-immigration populist Geert Wilders, who wants the country to leave the EU. "The first gains are made".
The results of the elections will be declared on March 21. "He just creates fear", said 26-year-old Niels, who was watching the debate in a bar in The Hague.
The result was a disappointment for Wilders, who had led in opinion polls until late in the campaign and had hoped to pull off an anti-establishment triumph in the first of three key elections in the European Union this year. Most of the other parties competing in the elections have already said they would not accept the Party for Freedom as a coalition partner.
Later in the year, two more countries to have seen a populist uprising, France and Germany, will also face crucial elections.
Politicians from both countries were quick to congratulate the Netherlands for staving off populist policies which overturned the US election and the U.K.'s European Union referendum.
French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault tweeted, "Congratulations to the Netherlands for halting the advance of the far right". For all the fretting about the potential spread of populism across the US, Britain, and greater Europe, the visual shows the shortcomings of comparing the rise of populism in the US and Britain to other countries.
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