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Dutch people have rejected right-wing populism by defeating Geert Wilders in the Netherlands’ election result of which declared today.
Dutch people rejected “the wrong kind of populism”, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said, as he celebrated victory in the much debated election.
“The Netherlands said ‘Whoa!'” he declared after his centre-right VVD party’s lead positioned him for a third successive term as prime minister.
With nearly all votes counted, his party easily beat the anti-immigration Freedom party of Geert Wilders.
The Netherlands’ elections was seen as a test of support for nationalist parties that have been gaining ground across Europe.
Fellow eurozone countries France and Germany also face elections this year.
Many European leaders have congratulated the acting Dutch prime minister, who will now stay on in office for a third term.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Rutte to offer her congratulations as well as her readiness to work with him and his new government, which he will now have to form with parliamentary alliances.
“The Netherlands are our partners, friends, neighbours. Therefore I was very happy that a high turnout led to a very pro-European result, a clear signal,” Merkel told a conference on demography.
“And that after days in which the Netherlands had to tolerate accusations and reproaches from Turkey which are totally unacceptable… It was a good day for democracy.”
French President Francois Hollande said he had won a “clear victory against extremism”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy praised Dutch voters for their “responsibility”
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament until earlier this year, said he was relieved the Freedom Party had lost. “We must continue to fight for an open and free Europe!” he added on Twitter