AMSTERDAM: Dutch people rejected “the wrong kind of populism”, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said, as he celebrated victory in Wednesday’s election.
“The Netherlands said ‘Whoa!'” he declared after his centre-right VVD party’s lead positioned him for a third successive term as prime minister.
With nearly all votes counted, his party easily beat the anti-immigration Freedom party of Geert Wilders.
Fellow eurozone countries France and Germany also face elections this year.
The Dutch race was seen as a test of support for nationalist parties that have been gaining ground across Europe.
Mr Wilders insisted “the patriotic spring” would still happen.
The euro gained as the results pointed to a clear victory for the prime minister’s party.
With 95% of votes counted, the prime minister’s party had won 33 out of 150 seats, a loss of eight seats from the previous parliament.
The Freedom party was in second place on 20 seats, a gain of five, with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the liberal D66 party close behind with 19 seats each.
The Green-Left party also did well, winning 14 seats, an increase of 10.
The Labour Party (PvdA), the junior party in the governing coalition, suffered a historic defeat by wining only nine seats, a loss of 29.
Turnout was more than 80%, the highest for 30 years, which analysts say may have benefited pro-EU and liberal parties.
“We want to stick to the course we have – safe and stable and prosperous,” Mr Rutte said.__BBC