Dutch election: Vote is key test for populist support

The Christian Democrats and centrist D66 parties won 19 seats each.

In a remarkable last-minute pitch to voters on Monday, Mr. Rutte told a group of foreign journalists that he was anxious about Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders winning the most seats in Wednesday’s election. Mr.

However, even if Wilders’s PVV gets a high percentage of votes, it is unlikely to make it into government as all the major parties have ruled out collaborating with him. Rutte needs at least three, if not four coalition partners, to form a new government.

With two days to go until the Dutch vote in a pivotal parliamentary election, pollster Maurice De Hond found that the spat between the Netherlands and Turkey, and Saturday’s night of rioting by ethnic Turks in Rotterdam, had benefited the two parties that have been most skeptical on immigration.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said President Jean-Claude Juncker had congratulated Rutte, and the result was a vote for Europe and against extremism.

Alternative for Germany (AfD), an anti-European Union and anti-immigrant party, is likely to enter the German federal parliament for the first time in September’s election.

Wilders’s rhetoric has received support from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who over the weekend endorsed the Dutch politician in a controversial tweet. Several parties also shifted to the right during the election in an attempt to fend off Wilders.

From November onwards Mr Wilders led in most of the polls.

He said the coalition formation process is going to be smoother than expected and is likely to take weeks, not months.

There was no love lost between the two, with Wilders calling Rutte untrustworthy and Rutte saying a Wilders government would plunge the Netherlands into chaos.

The Dutch election has also been gatecrashed by an explosive row with Turkey.

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. Rutte now has to build a coalition that incorporates (paywall) some of the hard-right sentiments popularized by Wilders.

The Green-Left party secured the most gains from the previous parliament, having secured 14 seats, from only 4 seats previously. “That’s why I have said I will not work with Geert Wilders, but I will discuss and engage with his voters”. And the head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, Peter Altmaier (CDU), wrote on Twitter: “Netherlands, you are a champion”.

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