Exit Poll: Dutch PM Rutte Has Big Lead Over Islamophobe Wilders

by
Reuters
If confirmed, the result will be a relief to mainstream parties across Europe, particularly in France and Germany, where right-wing nationalists are set to make a big impact in elections both will hold this year.

Rutte got a last-minute boost from a diplomatic row with Turkey, which allowed him to take a well-timed tough line on a majority Muslim country during an election campaign in which immigration and integration have been key issues.

Dutch proportional representation means up to 15 parties could win a parliamentary seat and it could take months for Rutte to build a coalition.

Rutte had called the vote a European quarter-final, before a French semi-final and German final, and warned voters that a Wilders victory would be "the wrong sort of populism winning the day".

Read More: Meet Geert Wilders: The Dutch Donald Trump, An Islamophobe, A Racist

The far-right Marine Le Pen is set to make the second-round run-off of France's presidential election in May, while in September's federal election in Germany, the right-wing, euroskeptic Alternative for Germany is likely to enter the national parliament for the first time.

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