Relief in EU as Dutch PM sees off far-right's Wilders

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the free-market VVD party celebrates after exit poll results of the parliamentary elections were announced in The Hague Netherlands Wednesday

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the free-market VVD party celebrates after exit poll results of the parliamentary elections were announced in The Hague Netherlands Wednesday

THE HAGUE:Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte easily defeated a strong challenge by far-right rival Geert Wilders in key elections seen as a bellwether of populist support in Europe, partial vote counts showed yesterday. Indeed, it was not Wilders but the once and likely future prime minister who said, just weeks before the election, "If you don't like it here, then leave".

As far as the markets were concerned, the Dutch election result was somewhat of a relief, the euro's rise was an initial reaction to the Dutch exit polls.

It was "a victory for common sense and a great start for Europe's election season", said Holger Schmieding, chief economist with Berenberg bank. Many Dutch parties have said they won't work with Wilders' Party of Freedom.

A first attempt will nearly certainly be centred on Mr Rutte's VVD party and the Christian Democrats (CDA) and Liberal Democrats (D66), who each won 19 seats.

That is about 21 percent of the vote and eight seats less than in the last election in 2012.

Coalition talks on forming a new government have begun but could take months to finalise, the Guardian reported.

The Party for Freedom, or PVV, led by Geert Wilders, won the second most seats in parliament.

Wilders however had reason to crow. In an election with a record turnout of over 80%, his centrist VVD party secured the largest share of power.

Now we are the 2nd largest party.

Indian equities open on a higher note
The total turnover on BSE read Rs 8,810.20 crore, up from Rs 5,566.64 crore registered during the previous trading session. The Sensex has touched a high of 29,442.18 points and a low of 29,301.22 points during the intra-day trade.

After Britain's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's election as president of the United States, could an global wave of right-wing populism bring National Front leader Marine Le Pen to power in France's upcoming presidential elections?

People had seen right-wing populism "can destroy countries' economies and trigger a chain-reaction of destruction in Europe".

The Kremlin is ready to keep up the dialogue with Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, if he continues to lead the government, Russian Presidential Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

If none of them get 50 per cent of the vote, two will go through to the final round. Significantly, Denk, a party supported by Dutch Turks, has taken three seats to become the first ethnic minority party in parliament, a possible sign of deepening ethnic division.

The major loser in this election was the Labour Party, the junior party in the governing coalition, which suffered a historic defeat. Mr Wilders didn't do too badly.

I think we can be slightly optimistic.

Both Rutte's pro-business VVD party and his likely coalition partner, the conservative Christian Democrat Party, remain committed to European Union membership - but sceptical towards any increase in Brussels' powers. There are at a least a dozen permutations of four or five-party alliances to reach the 76-majority needed, even without the PVV.

That means they would have to woo a fourth party for a center-right coalition. Another interpretation: The Dutch remain antagonistic to the status-quo establishment, but remain hopelessly split among almost 30 political parties (Nearly 800 political parties, if you count all the splinter parties!) Certainly, The Netherlands' longstanding reputation for "tolerance" has taken a major hit.

One of the biggest winners in the election was Jesse Klaver who has turned around the fortunes of his ecologist, left-wing party GroenLinks.

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