Turkey says Dutch parties have same "mindset" despite election result

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has urged voters in his country to stop the "domino effect" of countries embracing the "wrong sort of populism".

Right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders, right, gestures as he talks to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a national televised debate, the first head-to-head meeting of the two political party leaders since the start of the election campaign, at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, March 13, 2017. One Rutte campaigner told reporters that voters have given "trust again" to the ruling VVD party. "Tonight we'll celebrate a little".

Though he was polling well and at points even expected to win most votes, in the event, his party followed the same pattern as it did in the 2012 general election and the 2014 European Parliament election and had a disappointing performance on the day.

Mr Wilders and the PVV was second with 20 - climbing from third place in the last election - and the CDA and centrist Democrats 66 tied for third with 19 each.

The Labour Party (PvdA) appears to have suffered significant loses since joining a coalition with the VVD in the last election, and is likely to secure 9 seats.

That is well down from the 40 VVD MPs in the outgoing lower chamber however, and would leave Rutte scrambling to cobble together a viable coalition which may have to include four or five parties to reach the 76-seat majority. He's already ruled out working with Wilders.

Mr Rutte had been more than anxious that he'd lose out to Geert Wilders, the far-right, anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-EU candidate.

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However, Wilders' poorer than expected result signals by no means an end of the sharp shift to the right in European politics. The embarrassing chaos surrounding Trump's first two months hasn't exactly made nationalism look like a winning team. "Rutte is not rid of me yet!" he tweeted. Only 30 years ago the Netherlands was a byword in much of the world for tolerance and liberalism.

After Britain's unexpected vote to quit the European Union and the election of EU-sceptic Donald Trump in the United States, Europe will soon know whether a wave of anti-establishment sentiment threatens the survival of the EU.

The euro climbed to a one-month high versus the dollar after exit polls released on Wednesday evening showed that Rutte was in the lead.

"Congratulations to the Dutch for stemming the rise of the far-right", France's foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault wrote on Twitter. Ayrault said there was now a clear "willingness to work for a stronger Europe".

Wilders will gain seats if these results hold, but it will still be viewed as a disappointing finish given that he was leading in the polls until recently This is a smaller percentage of seats than his party won in 2010, and in a year when his favorite issues-immigration, Islam, the backlash to the EU-were front and center.

The party is unusual in the Netherlands, where political movements explicitly based on ethnicity are rare.



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