What’s galling is the rush of the statist media in hyping this as a major win for the Rutte government.
To be fair, he held on, lost a fourth of his seats to the other parties, mainly to the PVV, but he did not win in a convincing way any more than Wilders lost in a convincing way. He was and still is, running against the system that’s incredibly stacked against him, culminating in his being found guilty of ethnic incitement.
The road ahead is going to be filled with the same disadvantages he had before this election, but he can’t be discounted, the current PM Rutte began to sound tough during the latter half of the campign, and now people are going to be looking very closely as to whether his talk was just bluster or he meant it. If it’s the latter, then Wilders can look to this election cycle as a move forward in the right direction.
Geert Wilders Falls Short as Wary Dutch Scatter Their Votes
THE HAGUE — 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.
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.”