In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte fought off a challenge from the xenophobic, far-right-wing politician Geert Wilders in a closely watched election Wednesday. Dutch voters turned out in record numbers, showing Rutte’s party far more support than expected by pundits.
With 95 percent of the votes counted, Rutte’s center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy has won 33 parliament seats. Wilders’s anti-immigrant, anti-European Union Party for Freedom, whose slogan was “Make the Netherlands ours again,” won only 20 parliament seats. This is Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “This is also a night when the Netherlands, after Brexit, after the American elections, has said ‘stop’ to the wrong kind of populism.”
The Dutch left party, GreenLeft, also won big in Wednesday’s elections, increasing its seats in parliament from four to 14. The party is headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, whose father is Moroccan and mother is of Indonesian descent. After the election, Klaver said, “To all my left-wing friends in Europe: Don’t try to fake the populace. … Be pro-refugee. Be pro-European. We’re gaining momentum in the polls. And I think that’s the message we have to send to Europe. You can stop populism.”