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.
Roughly 81 percent of eligible voters showed up to cast a ballot in Wednesday's Dutch parliamentary election, according to exit polls conducted by Ipsos for broadcasters NOS and RTL. The voter turnout far outpaced the 2012 and 2010 election figures, when about 75 percent arrived at the polls leading to the two Mark Rutte cabinets.
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.
The Netherlands will not apologize to Turkey for the actions taken in Rotterdam on Saturday around the arrival of Turkish Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to Het Parool on Wednesday. "The actions taken on Saturday were firm and respectful."
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.
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.
In a new verbal attack, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds the Netherlands responsible for the mass murder of thousands of Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995. "We know the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre", he said in a speech that was televised live in Turkey, according to the Volkskrant. "We know how rotten their character is due to their murder of 8 thousand Bosnians there."
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.
Turkey is turning to the European Court of Human Rights in its political battle with the Netherlands, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday. He also announced a number of sanctions against the Netherlands, including that Dutch diplomats are no longer welcome in Turkey, NU.nl 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.
Germany and France expressed their support for the Netherlands in the political spat between the Netherlands and Turkey. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation in the situation. After the Netherlands' parliamentary election on Wednesday, Germany and France also have elections upcoming.
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.
Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher called on Turkey to retract its accusations of Nazism and fascism against the Netherlands. If the country does not do so, the relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey will remain difficult, Asscher said, according to RTL Nieuws.
Asscher added that the Dutch government will not take any measures against the Ankara government, even if they refuse to retract the statements. According to him, it is important that calm returns. But "a different form of communication must come from Turkey", he said.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has his doubts about expanding the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide at the end of a "full life". He does not think that this will be arranged in the new cabinet period, he said in an interview with Nederlands Dagblad on Thursday.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte was barely able to get a word out on talk show Pauw en Jinek on Monday night because of a group of furious Groningen residents shouting and booing at him from the audience. They are furious about the VVD government's policy on gas production in their province, AD reports.
"Mr. Rutte drained us for six and a half years. And he is still doing it. He is depicted as a positive politician, an optimist. But you know what an optimist does? Laughs everying away, so he laughs away our problems", one angry audience member said.
PvdA leader and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher is critical of the way in which VVD leader Mark Rutte led the Netherlands as Prime Minister over the past years. Rutte was not a Prime Minister for all Dutch, he said in an interview with NU.nl.
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.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is completely against anonymous hiring practices in the fight against discrimination on the labor market. In an interview with online medium VICE on Thursday, Rutte called anonymous job applications "terrible".
The four largest cities in the Netherlands, united under G4, want the Dutch government to invest 35 billion euros into sustainability and infrastructure in the Randstad. The G4's plans span 15 years in which time some 1 million "green" homes will be built and accessibility to the city regions will be greatly improved, Het Parool reports.
The Mayors of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht met with Prime Minister Mark Rutte a few weeks ago to present their plan, Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb confirmed to the newspaper.
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.
Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte is very positive about the upcoming parliamentary elections. He thinks that his VVD will come out of the elections with the same number of parliamentary seats as in the 2012 elections - 41 seats. He is also up for working with green party GroenLinks. "We eventually have to work towards a greener society", he said, according to newspaper AD.
Rutte is currently campaigning in the east of the country. He participated in a debate series organized by newspaper Tubantia and the University of Twente. And he gave an interview to the Gelderlander.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver and SP leader Emile Roemer could not agree on whether the VVD should or should not be excluded from forming a new government after the parliamentary elections on March 15th. During the first televised debate for the upcoming elections, Roemer called on Klaver to clearly state whether GroenLinks and the VVD would form a coalition. Klaver said he can not rule out that possibility, AD reports.
Information about Prime Minister Mark Rutte and military airbase Volkel was found in the home of 23-year-old Eindhoven terror suspect Hasan A., the Public Prosecutor revealed in court on Thursday. Hasan A. is standing trial on suspicion of preparing for terrorist actions, AD reports.