“It’s not the 30 seats I hoped for but we gained seats”. “Tonight we’ll celebrate a little”.
Although the VVD lost 9 seats compared to the last elections, the Labour party suffered a truly historic loss, losing 29 seats compared to the last elections. France picks its new president in April, while Germany holds elections in September.
Experts said Mr Rutte won on a mix of factors, not all of which may apply to France, whose political establishment faces a challenge from a far-right populist Marine Le Pen next month.
Center-right prime minister Mark Rutte led with 31 seats in the 150-seat parliament, according to early polls.
The seats will be contested by 28 parties, but the proportionate representation allows even the smallest ones play a certain role within the parliament.
However, fears that Wilder would double his current number of seats and become the biggest party did not come true. “We were the 3rd party in the Netherlands”. Wilders voices are the concerns and ideas of many people in Holland and also of mine.
“This is a fantastic result for us, a historic victory”, Green Left chairwoman Marjolein Meijer said.
He also noted this election is important in the sense that it is the first “major” election after the Brexit vote which has been a “catalyst” for the nationalist far-right parties in Europe who believe their countries can leave the European Union the same way Britain did.
About 12.9 million people in the Netherlands are eligible to cast their ballot, with voting booths open until 9pm local time (4am today, Singapore time), when an exit poll is to be released. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated that the rise of the extreme right was “stopped” in the elections in the Netherlands, seeing the results as an expression for a “stronger Europe”.
Wilders said: “At least throw the Turkish ambassador and his staff out of the country”.
Rutte who took on Wilders in a heated debate on Monday night has made it clear that his party will not work with the PVV leader.
The highly anticipated Dutch general election could set the tone for how anti-immigrant politicians will fare in key European polls later this year.
His Freedom Party had been leading in opinion polls but they have since suggested his support may be slipping. “I congratulate Mark Rutte wholeheartedly with his victory over extremism”, he wrote on Twitter.
The VVW party will have to seek coalition partners to form the next government as parliamentary seats are allocated in exact proportion to a party’s vote share.