Far-right populism has failed its first test in Europe this year after conservative party leader Geert Wilders came a distant second in the closely-watched Dutch election.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte took to the stage in the Hague Wednesday night to claim victory, amid wild cheering and whistling from his jubilant supporters.
“This night is a night for the Netherlands — after Brexit, after the American elections — where we said stop it, stop it to the wrong kind of populism,” he said.
With 94% of the vote counted, Rutte’s VVD party is projected to win 33 seats out of a total 150, ahead of Wilder’s PVV party which won 20 seats, only one more than the mainstream Christian Democratic Appeal and D66 parties. Voter turnout was 81%, the highest in three decades.