The attention of the world has been in the Netherlands Parliamentary elections because this will be a key indicator of the political mood in the Europeans countries. With France and Germany also set to go to polls in the coming months, the Netherlands electoral outcome is also being seen as a fair barometer of what can be expected from these countries. Exit polls that were released right after voting indicate that the Dutch Prime Minister has managed to retain the trust of his voting populace rather impressively.
Anti- Muslim candidate loses ground
Geert Wilders, one of the opponents facing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, lost ground with his Freedom Party winning only 19 seats. While he matched the win of the other two contenders in the ring, he lost ground significantly when compared with Rutte, who had 31 seats under his belt to come out successful with a comfortable margin. The legislature has a total of 150 seats.
It is interesting to see that Wilders, who has made no secret of the fact that he is vehemently anti- Muslim, did enjoy surging popularity in the recent past. However, in the weeks leading up to the polls, the tide seemed to turn against him. The candidate had been campaigning for the closure of mosques and for the closure of borders to Muslim immigrants from the beginning of his candidature. In the final debate leading up to the elections, he went so far as to categorically state that Netherlands ‘is for the Dutch’ in answer to his opponent’s statement that ‘Netherlands belongs to all of us’.
Prime Minister Rutte seemed to be in a celebratory mood, for obvious reasons, and he described the elections as a ‘celebration of democracy’. He went on to say that the people have voted for security, prosperity and stability by giving him their mandate. Meanwhile, his opponent, Wilders also had some reason to celebrate as his party had won four more seats than last time.
The exit polls are not actual electoral results, however, in the past, they have been found to be very accurate. This is the chief reason why Prime Minister Rutte is quite happy with the exit poll results that show him winning on a good margin. Voter turnout was better than previous elections, and this gives Rutte more reason for celebration since it indicates that more of his countrymen appear to favour him.