Tags: dutch | election | turnout | far-right | populist

Dutch Election Brings Heavy Turnout as Far-Right Seeks Control

Image: Dutch Election Brings Heavy Turnout as Far-Right Seeks Control

Left: Netherlands' prime minister and VVD party leader Mark Rutte casts his ballot in Dutch general elections at a polling station on March 15, 2017. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images) Right: Netherlands' politician Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) casts his ballot for Dutch general elections at a polling station in The Hague on March 15, 2017. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 02:37 PM

A Dutch election is being viewed as the latest test of populism in Europe.

Dutch voters went out to the polls on Wednesday to elect a new government in the best turnout in recent elections, according to The Huffington Post.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders, the two key candidates in the election, headed to the polls early Wednesday to cast their ballots.

“I feel very optimistic,” Wilders, the far-right leader known for his harsh rhetoric, told the Daily Express after casting his vote. “We want to take our country back.”

Wilders, who has led the polls since November, has been on record saying he plans to take the Netherlands out of the EU if he’s victorious in the election. That’s a promise that has caused many in Brussels to fear for the future.

While at the polls, Wilders was asked if he felt that he ran a campaign based on fear and bigotry.

“Those are all lies. We are having big support from common Dutch people,” Wilders said, according to the Daily Express. “The common people are interested in getting our country back and our national sovereignty are hopefully voting today in huge amounts.”

Wilders appeared to be the favorite in the Dutch election based on past polls, but ABC News noted that a more recent poll had Rutte ahead by a small margin.

Rutte said a win for the flamboyant Wilders would be the “wrong sort of populism.”

“This is a chance for a big democracy like the Netherlands to make a point to stop this toppling over of the domino stones of the wrong sort of populism,” Rutte said after casting his vote, according to ABC News.

“There is still a risk that we wake up Thursday morning and seeing that Geert Wilders is leading the biggest party,” he added.

Wilders, who’s maintained a nationalist perspective, said the populist political climate that he and others in his party believe in will move forward no matter what the election results turn out to be.

“The genie will not go back into the bottle. People feel misrepresented,” Wilder said, according ABC News.

“Despite what the elite wants, politicians are getting strong who have a totally different concept of what the people want them to do,” he added.

Wilders has been compared to President Donald Trump in the past based on his rhetoric, nationalist point-of-view, and his array.

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A Dutch election is being viewed as the latest test of populism in Europe.
dutch, election, turnout, far-right, populist
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2017-37-15
Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 02:37 PM
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