— Electograph (@Electograph) March 15, 2017
Prime Minister Rutte and his center-right VVD Party (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) held off the challenge of Gert Wilders and his PVV (Party for Freedom) in today’s Dutch elections.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party has won the most seats in parliamentary elections, exit polls say.
Early results confirmed the exit polls, with his centre-right VVD Party on course for 31 out of 150 seats.
Three parties are projected to win 19 seats each: Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), the Christian Democrats and D66.
Mr Wilders’ party had been leading in opinion polls but support for the party appeared to slip in recent days.
With 10.9% of votes counted early on Thursday, the VVD had polled 17.8%.
Voter participation in the general election was high; the 81% turnout was the highest for 30 years.
Analysts say a high turnout may have benefited pro-EU and liberal parties.
“Today was a celebration of democracy,” Mr Rutte said, adding that the Netherlands had said no to the “wrong kind of populism”.
Although the VVD had lost several seats since the last election, many had expected the party to lose much more ground to the Freedom Party.
As was the case in the recent Austrian reelection, Holland has electorally held the line against the neo-Nationalist populist wave that is threatening many of the EU member states. France is next up in April and May (first and second round elections) followed by Germany in September. The Russians working through their local proxies – the neo-Nationalist parties and movements themselves, as well as through Wikileaks and directly using their entire hybrid war toolkit is seeking to weaken, if not dismantle the EU and NATO. The electoral results so far, in Austria and today in Holland, are promising and show signs that the civil societies in these states is stronger and more robust than many think. And that the vote in favor of Brexit and the election of President Trump may be having a sobering effect on the internal and external drives for neo-Nationalism throughout Europe.