Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dutch PM Rutte Defeats Geert Wilders In Election

Dutch PM Rutte beats anti-Islam leader Wilders

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday claimed a dominating parliamentary election victory over anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, who failed the year’s first litmus test for populism in Europe.

The Netherlands’ main exit poll suggested Rutte’s party won 31 seats in the 150-member legislature, 12 more than Wilders’ party, which shared second place with two other parties.

Following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s election as US president, “the Netherlands said, ‘Whoa! Stop!’ to the wrong kind of populism,” said Rutte, who is now poised for a third term as prime minister.

“We want to stick to the course we have — safe and stable and prosperous,” he added.
Wilders had insisted that whatever the result of the election, the kind of populist politics he and others in Europe represent aren’t going away.
“Rutte has not seen the back of me!!” Wilders said in a Twitter message after the exit poll results had sunk in.
Both France and Germany have elections this year in which far-right candidates and parties are hoping to make an impact.
“Wilders could not win the election,” German socialist leader Martin Schulz tweeted. “I am relieved, but we need to continue to fight for an open and Free Europe.”

Rutte, who for much of the campaign appeared to be racing to keep pace with Wilders, may have profited from the hard line he drew in a diplomatic standoff with Turkey over the past week.

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