Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte celebrates win in close race

World Today

European leaders rushed to congratulate Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on his re-election victory in the Netherlands. The vote was widely viewed as a bellwether of populist support in Europe as elections loom in France and Germany.


CGTN’s Kate Parkinson reports from The Hague.

Follow Kate Parkinson on Twitter @KTP_news

Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte celebrate win in close race

European leaders rushed to congratulate Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on his re-election victory in the Netherlands. The vote was widely viewed as a bellwether of populist support in Europe as elections loom in France and Germany. CGTN’s Kate Parkinson reports from The Hague.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte celebrated his party’s victory on Wednesday night.

With the anti-EU and anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders beaten into second place. Across Europe, leaders breathed a sigh of relief.

Jean-Claude Juncker, The head of the European Commission, hailed the vote results as: “free and tolerant societies in a prosperous Europe.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Dutch Prime Minister to welcome what she described as a “very pro-European result” and a “good day for democracy”.

French President Francois Hollande tweeted his congratulations describing the result as a “clear victory against extremism.”

After the celebrations, the hard work begins.

Rutte’s party came out on top with 33 seats in the parliament, but fell well-short of the 76 needed to form a government. Coalition talks will start immediately, but could take months and may not succeed.

And with the party of Geert Wilders coming in second with 20 seats, the populist leader could still be a thorn in the Prime Minister’s side.

“Mister Rutte hasn’t got rid of me. The ‘patriotic spring’ continues and will start. And I’ll hear if they need me and the PVV for whatever negotiations. And if that’s not the case, well, he won’t be rid of me just yet. We’ll have even more people, I hope 19, 20 people, to form a strong opposition against the cabinet, making it difficult for them every day,” Wilders said.

Attention will now shift to France, the next country in Europe to confront the rise of global populism. Polls show it’s unlikely the National Front’s Marine Le Pen will win.

While leaders across Europe are celebrating the result here in The Netherlands as a blow to populism, they will also be conscious that the problems that almost handed Wilders victory are not going away.


Laurens Jan Brinkhorst talks Netherlands election results

Professor and former member of the European and the Netherlands Parliaments Laurens Jan Brinkhorst discusses election results in the Netherlands with CGTN’s Asieh Namdar.