The parliamentary election in the Netherlands on Wednesday had the interest of journalists and media sources from around the world. The main question on everyone's mind was whether, after the Brexit and after Donald Trump, the populism trend would spread to the European continent. With Mark Rutte and his VVD winning the election, most foreign media sources are focused on Geert Wilders and his PPV's loss.
"What a night it seems to be," Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to begin his election victory speech Wednesday night. "For the third time in a row the VVD is the largest party in the national elections," he added.
"It is also a night wherein the Netherlands, after Brexit, after Trump, has said 'no" to populism," he said. He praised the massive voter turnout of over 81 percent, a stark contrast to the comparatively low turnout in the UK for the Brexit referendum and in the U.S. for the 2016 general election there.
An exit poll sampling voters in the 2017 Netherlands parliamentary election shows the conservative party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte taking 31 seats in the Lower House, down from its current 41 seats. The coalition partner of Rutte's VVD, the Labour party (PvdA), showed a bigger than expected drop, losing 29 of its 38 seats, the Ipsos exit poll showed.
Political analysts believe that the diplomatic spat currently ongoing between the Netherlands and Turkey will favor VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Dutch parliamentary election on Wednesday, The Guardian reports.
Many of the political party leaders already cast their votes in the parliamentary election in the Netherlands this morning. D66 leader Alexander was the first party leader to do so. He voted in his hometown of Wageningen, NOS reports.
According to Pechtold, today is an exciting day. "There are four parties that can become the biggest and of those the D66 is the most progressive", he said to the broadcaster. He plans to hand out some more flyers during the day.
Thirteen party leaders clashed on Tuesday night in the final election debate on NOS, the last chance for the party leaders to sway voters before the election. Topics ranged from income inequality to Dutch identity. And after an entire election campaign of being calm and being nice, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher went on the attack, NU.nl reports.
Both German president Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet Chief Peter Altmaier hope that Geert Wilders and his PVV will not come out on top in the Dutch parliamentary election tomorrow. According to Altmaier, it will be better for the Netherlands if the PVV is not in its government, BNR reports.
Monday night's EenVandaag election debate between the leaders of the two largest parties in the polls, VVD leader Mark Rutte and PVV leader Geert Wilders, was exceptionally harsh. Accusations including "No one believes you anymore, Mr. Rutte!" and "Wilders walks away when things get difficult" were thrown about, RTL Nieuws reports.
Geert Wilders has a strong chance of coming out on top following elections, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Rotterdam on Monday. Rutte repeated comments he made during a televised interview last week, when he told of going asleep on June 23 thinking Brexit would be voted down, only to find out otherwise the next morning. He had a similar opinion of the November 8 election in the United States.
On Saturday party leaders Alexander Pechtold (D66), Sybrand Buma (CDA), Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), Mark Rutte (VVD), Geert Wilders (PVV) and Emile Roemer (SP) debated policy, explained what topics they find important and played games on kids TV show NOS Jeugdjournaal.
The debate was done by means of a quartet. Each party leader could chose a theme and a topic, such as "healthcare" and "costs". And then they could briefly and simply explain what they find important on that topic.
American Republican Steve King, congressman for the state of Iowa, is facing social media outrage following a tweet in support of anti-Islam PVV leader Geert Wilders.
"Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny", King wrote on Twitter. "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." According to the BBC, King is a strong advocate of ending birthright citizenship, which gives all babies born in the United States citizenship to the country, even if their parents live there illegally.
PVV leader Geert Wilders and a number of candidate PVV parliamentarians are demonstrating in front of the Turkish Embassy in The Hague on Wednesday. Wilders is carrying a banner reading "Stay away! This is our country", ANP reports.
A number of anti-Islam group Pegida supporters are also in front of the embassy.The police closed down the street and many officers are present.
With just a week before the parliamentary election, anti-Islam, populist party PVV continues to lose support in the polls. The PVV dropped to between 21 and 25 seats on Peilingwijzer, putting the party clearly behind the VVD, which is at between 24 and 28 seats.
Over the past weeks the VVD has remained relatively stable on the polls, climbing one seat compared to last week. Put the PVV has steadily been losing support on Peilingwijzer, which combines the data of six different poll for a more rounded view.
An animal shelter in Zaandam canceled a work visit from PVV leader Geert Wilders on Thursday out of fear for the safety of their employees, a spokesperson for the PVV said. According to him, it has to do with an announced demonstration by anti-fascists, NOS reports.
A majority of 56 percent of Dutch voters would like to directly elect the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, according to a recent poll by Maurice de Hond.
39 percent of voters are against directly voting for a Prime Minister, and five percent don't have an opinion on the matter.
Left- and right wing parties clashed fiercely over the retirement age, healthcare deductibles and the Dutch identity in the televised debate between eight party leaders in the Carré in Amsterdam on Sunday. With only 9 days to go until the parliamentary election, party leaders are pressured to create some movement in the polls, which have been quiet over the past weeks.
PvdA Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem thinks that PVV leader Geert Wilders and his discriminatory statements poison the atmosphere in Dutch society, he said to broadcaster BNR on Thursday.
Dijsselbloem was responding to German President Jaochim Gauck expressing his concerns about the Netherlands in the Telegraaf. Gauck said that nationalism can now be seen in most of the founding countries of the European Union. He called the movement a "poison" and "infection".
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold called a statement made by Limburg D66 State member Hans van Wageningen about PVV leader Geert Wilders "unwise". In an opinion piece posted on Twitter and in 1Limburg, Van Wageningen said that Wilders hopes for a terrorist attack in the Netherlands. "He hopes for an attack just before the election and that he'll be sitting plush in The Hague when the smoke clears", he said.
PVV leader Geert Wilders is resuming his party's public campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections. "We are going into the country", he said on Wednesday, RTL Nieuws reports.
According to Hans van Wageningen, D66 States member in Limburg, PVV leader Geert Wilders is hoping for a terrorist attack in the Netherlands shortly before the election on March 15th. "He hopes for an attack just before the election and that he'll be sitting plush in The Hague when the smoke clears", he said on Twitter on Wednesday night.
An elite team of soldiers was deployed to help protect PVV leader Geert Wilders, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday based on its own sources. According to the newspaper, members of the Defense team Special Security Missions Brigade (BSB) have been guarding the PVV leader for a few days already.
The Ministry of Security and Justice would not confirm these reports to the newspaper. The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that forms part of the Dutch military, would also not comment on the matter. The BSB falls under the Koninklijke Marechaussee.
A float at the Dusseldorf carnival in Germany lined PVV leader Geert Wilders up with Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and Adolf Hitler, with the words "Blond ist das neue Braun" - which translates to 'blonde is the new brown'.
The slogan seems to compare the three blonde nationalist politicians with the brown shirts Nazis wore under Hitler. "Ziek, sick, krank", Wilders tweeted in response.
In an interview with German TV channel ARD, PVV leader Geert Wilders claimed that populist politician and LPF leader Pim Fortuyn was murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2012. This is not true. Fortuyn was killed by environmental activist Volkert van der G. On Twitter Wilders acknowledged that he misspoke, saying he was talking about Theo van Gogh's murder in 2004.
"Pim Fortuyn was addressing the problems that I am addressing now. Unfortunately he was killed and murdered by a radical Muslim", Wilders said in the interview, which was recorded on February 9th.
How suspected corrupt police officer Faris K. managed to get a job in the high ranking Safety and Security Service despite a previous integrity conviction, is leading to consternation in the police ranks. Considering the screening process necessary to join the Safety and Security Service, former Geert Wilders security guard Rico Briedjal thinks it was difficult, but possible, he said to newspaper AD Members of the Service are calling for stricter screenings.