Dutch PM Mark Rutte Set to Beat Geert Wilders in Election

A piece of possible good news from Europe
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Dutch PM Mark Rutte

Far right anti-Muslim Dutch demagogue Geert Wilders has been riding a populist wave and getting campaign funding from right wing US organizations, in an effort to become the largest political party in the Dutch parliament. But in a piece of good news, the latest exit polls from the Netherlands show Dutch PM Mark Rutte poised to beat Wilders.

Dare we hope that the Trump Horror in the United States is beginning to help Europeans understand how vital it is to pull back from the brink of far right disaster?

Prime minister Mark Rutte and his liberal VVD party appear to have comfortably beaten the populist, anti-Islam Freedom party of Geert Wilders to become the largest in the new Dutch parliament, an early exit poll suggested.

In the first of three key European votes this year in which populist parties are seeking electoral breakthroughs, the VVD lost ten seats but was still on course for 31 seats in the 150-seat parliament, the Ipsos poll for Dutch broadcasters predicted.

[…]

The vote was “a chance for a big democracy like the Netherlands to make a point, to stop this domino effect … of the wrong sort of populism,” Rutte said, though he warned there was still a chance the PVV might be the biggest party.

Wilders, who has pledged to “de-Islamise” the Netherlands and take it out of the EU, was widely seen as unlikely to enter government however he fared: no other main party will work with the PVV in coalition.

UPDATE at 3/15/17 7:38:35 pm by Charles Johnson

The exit polls were right: Geert Wilders has failed to gain a majority.

THE HAGUE — The far-right politician Geert Wilders fell short of expectations in Dutch elections on Wednesday, gaining seats but failing to persuade a decisive portion of voters to back his extreme positions on barring Muslim immigrants and jettisoning the European Union, according to early results and exit polls.

The results were immediately cheered by pro-European politicians who hoped that they could help stall some of the momentum of the populist, anti-European Union and anti-Muslim forces Mr. Wilders has come to symbolize, and which have threatened to fracture the bloc.

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