Mark Rutte claims victory over anti-Muslim Geert Wilders.

Netherland’s far right extremist candidate Geert Wilders faced a heavy defeat against Conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte , who has been elected for the third time in a row. This is a major blow to the populist movement that had suddenly risen in Netherland, threatening to create a tough time for Dutch Muslims as well as Muslim immigrants. The Pope too had recently warned people against falling prey to such populism.

Geert Wilders is known for his highly extremist anti-Islamic policies and has even challenged that if given the power, he would get Islam eliminated from Netherland. He also claimed he would close down mosques, ban the Quran and completely stop immigrants from gaining entry into Netherland. He also proposed an exit from the European Union for Netherland.

Although Geert Wilders tried his best to tip the election results in his favor by creating a wave of Islamophobic populism in Netherland, the huge margin by which Rutte won shows the Dutch people by large don’t share these views and prefer to maintain their welcoming and tolerant attitude. Besides, it also made it clear the Dutch have no interest in leaving the European Union, much to the delight of other members of the European Union. Rutte underlined this point when he said the Dutch are happy to stay the course that they have always taken – “…safe and stable and prosperous." 

Although Wilders’ party has been sinking over the years, he warned Rutte, telling reporters the premier had not seen the last of him. In 2010, Wilders had managed to win 24 seats. This time, he barely won 12 – one of the most failed populist movements around the world.

Voters themselves made their choice very strategically. Having felt something dangerous about the kind of views coming from Geert, and seeing what happened in the U.S., the Dutch decided they could not let him come to power and hand Netherland over populist forces.

The same opinion was expressed by leaders of other nations such as France and Germany, from whose wishes it becomes clear that they too did not want to see the rise of populism in the Nordic nation. French President Francois Hollande called Rutte’s victory as a “clear victory against extremism.” 82 percent of the Dutch were present for voting.

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