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NYT: 'Trump Effect' May Have Stemmed Populist Movement in Dutch Election

Image: NYT: 'Trump Effect' May Have Stemmed Populist Movement in Dutch Election
Dutch populist Geert Wilders casts his vote on March 15. (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 16 Mar 2017 10:51 PM

President Donald Trump's victory in the United States may not have translated well across the Atlantic, as Dutch voters rejected populist Geert Wilders in their election this week.

"In Europe, we all see the developments in the United States, and that’s not where we want to go because we see it as chaos," Janka Stoker, a professor in the School of Economics and Business at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, told The New York Times.

"We're a coalition country, we don't always like the coalitions, but we know it gives stability and people know here that we have to work together," she said.

In Wednesday's election, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's rightist VVD party easily won the national election, defying polls that suggested a close race with anti-immigrant populist Wilders.

With most votes counted for the 150-seat legislature early Thursday, Rutte's VVD won 33 seats, eight fewer than in 2012.

Wilders' party, the Party for Freedom, was second with 20 seats, five more than the last time but still a stinging setback.

In addition, the Christian Democrats and centrist D66 parties, likely future coalition partners for Rutte, won 19 seats each.

The tally virtually guarantees that policies toward immigrants and Muslims will be more restrictive, the Times reports, though less so if Wilders had been helming the government.

Analysts said that the "Trump effect" was less in the election — or it had an opposite effect.

Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform, a research group in London, told the Times that Trump's victory led people to "think twice about voting for a populist, as people have seen that if you elect a populist you can get all kinds of wacky policies.

"At the same time," he continued, "we have seen a drop in populism in Europe since Brexit, as citizens have realized that, while a protest vote is fun, it can lead to the uncertainties of Brexit, which are not funny at all.

"That helped shift the mood in the Netherlands."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Donald Trump's victory in the United States may not have translated well across the Atlantic, as Dutch voters rejected populist Geert Wilders in their election this week.
new york times, trump, effect, dutch, elections
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2017-51-16
Thursday, 16 Mar 2017 10:51 PM
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