Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Netherlands Squashes Far-Right - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Amsterdam, Ankara- The Liberal Party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte emerged the victor of Wednesday’s Dutch election, putting an end to what several Europeans considered an expansion of the far-right Party for Freedom represented by his opponent Geert Wilders.

Rutte’s VVD Liberal Party won 33 of parliament’s 150 seats, while the Party for Freedom of Wilders was second with 20 seats.

Rutte called his victory on Thursday an “evening in which the Netherlands, after Brexit, after the American elections of US President Donald Trump, said ‘stop’ to the wrong kind of populism.”

Also, the Dutch prime minister suggested holding several meetings with leading parties to discuss the lineup of a coalition government, which could take several months to form.

In Europe, a sense of comfort prevailed following the victory of the center-right party of Rutte, despite the advancement of the far-right that finished in second place.

Commenting on the results of the Dutch polls, French President Francois Hollande congratulated Rutte and said his election was a “clear victory against extremism.”

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the victory of Rutte’s party, saying: “It was a good day for democracy.”

For her part, Margaritis Schinas, spokesperson for the EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he had spoken to Rutte and congratulated him on his victory, adding the success was “a vote for Europe, a vote against extremists.”

The results of the Dutch general election were much anticipated in Europe as a test for popular movements in the continent. Both France and Germany have elections this year in which far-right candidates and parties hope to win.

Following the results, Wilders told reporters: “I would rather have been the largest party…. but we are not a party that has lost. We gained seats.”

In Turkey, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Thursday that the increased support for far-right politician Geert Wilders in the recent Dutch general election is a “matter of concern.”

Last week, a rift of diplomatic relations between Ankara and the Netherlands emerged after the Dutch authorities cancelled Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s flight permit and blocked Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam by land.