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Dutch Elections: Loss for Anti-Europe, Anti-Islam Wilders’ Freedom Party, Win for Pro-Europe Faction

Via the BBC:  Dutch election: Pro-Europe VVD and Labour parties win

Voters in the Netherlands have backed two pro-European centrist parties, while the anti-immigrant Geert Wilders’ Eurosceptic party took heavy losses.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte claimed victory for his liberal VVD party. Centre-left Labour came a close second.

Both parties performed better than predicted, seeking a pan-European solution to the eurozone crisis.

Wilder’s Freedom Party lost nine seats (down to 15) in the 150 seat chamber.  The VVD gained 10 seats to take their totals to 41 and will be the party that has the first chance to form a government (i.e, the PM is likely to come from that VVD).

A snap look at these results indicates a pro-Europe sentiment in the electorate, which is interesting given the challenges facing the EU and the Eurozone in particular.

It is worth noting that the issue that caused early elections was the withdrawal of support for the minority government by the Freedom Party over an EU fiscal policy requirement.  As such, the election was very much influenced by issues linked to Europe as a whole.  The fact the VVD (which formed the aforementioned minority government) gained seats and the Freedom Party lost is significant in regards to the general sentiments over the EU in the Netherlands.

More from WaPoDutch anti-Europe, anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders slammed in national elections

“I would have rather stood here with good news, but the voter has spoken: we have lost badly,” he told supporters after exit poll results were released.

He said he would continue to “fight,” to “to protect the Netherlands against Europe, against mass immigration, against the (European) super-state.”

“We will never give up,” he said.

For a pre-election rundown of the issues from a Dutch political observer, see JD Mussel’s guest-post over at Fruits and Votes.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Interesting – in France and in the Netherlands in recent elections, in a time of great economic and social uncertainty the voters of those two nations have thus far rejected the extreme right. I hope that Americans do the same in November.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  2. DC Loser says:

    Well, both Holland and France have experienced what ‘extreme right” governments do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. Jeremy says:

    Geert Wilders is a racist xenophobe. While I think its stupid that the Dutch are running back to pro-integration parties, in this there really wasn’t much choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. @Jeremy: Yes, but the point is: less support for the racist xenphobe and in a way that makes his party less significant and that also bolsters a a specific set of policies.

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