The lede: “The far-right politician Geert Wilders fell short of expectations in Dutch elections on Wednesday, gaining seats but failing to persuade a decisive portion of voters to back his extreme positions on barring Muslim immigrants and jettisoning the European Union, according to early results and exit polls.”
From the NYT (“Geert Wilders Falls Short as Wary Dutch Scatter Their Votes“):
The results were immediately cheered by pro-European politicians who hoped that they could help stall some of the momentum of the populist, anti-European Union and anti-Muslim forces Mr. Wilders has come to symbolize, and which have threatened to fracture the bloc.
Voters, who turned out in record numbers, nonetheless rewarded right and center-right parties that had co-opted parts of his hard-line message, including that of the incumbent prime minister, Mark Rutte. Some parties that challenged the establishment from the left made significant gains.
The Dutch vote was closely watched as a harbinger of potential trends in a year of important European elections, including in France in just weeks, and later in Germany and possibly Italy. Many of the Dutch parties that prevailed favor the European Union — a rare glimmer of hope at a time when populist forces have created an existential crisis for the bloc and Britain prepares for its withdrawal, or “Brexit.”
“The Netherlands, after Brexit, after the American elections, said ‘Whoa’ to the wrong kind of populism,” Mr. Rutte told a wildly enthusiastic crowd, excited that his party, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, had come in first among the parties and lost fewer seats than it had feared.
Twenty-eight parties ran in the Netherlands election, which has proportional representation allocating 150 seats. Thirteen parties won seats.
From the BBC (“Dutch election: PM Rutte sees off anti-EU Wilders challenge“):
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party has won the most seats in parliamentary elections, exit polls say.
Early results confirmed the exit polls, with his centre-right VVD Party on course for 31 out of 150 seats.
Three parties are projected to win 19 seats each: Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), the Christian Democrats and the D66 party.