With the vast majority of votes counted, #Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been re-elected as the head of government in the Netherlands. Rutte's party, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (commonly known as the VVD) has won thirty-three seats in the Dutch parliament, a plurality in the 150-seat House of Representatives. The election of Rutte has ended months of predictions and polling that showed a serious chance of electoral victory for the controversial Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (known as PVV), a nationalist, right-wing party in the Netherlands..
Populist PVV defeated by centre-right VVD
The 2017 Dutch election has seen an unprecedented amount of media coverage, resulting in one of the largest voter turnouts in the history of the Netherlands. A large majority of this attention has focused on the PVV and their leader, Geert Wilders. Wilders is a right-wing populist who has been a vocal critic of mass #Immigration and Islam, who has supported the banning of Islamic mosques and has previously compared the Quran, the Islamic holy book, to Adolf Hitler's autobiography. Although he has not previously seen electoral success in the Netherlands, many political pundits and observers believe this election represented a massive chance for the PVV. The rising wave of #Populism across the Western world, demonstrated by the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, had Wilders leading many polls for the Dutch election..
However, the election has not borne these results. Prime Minister Rutte has been re-elected, leading the center-right, fiscally conservative VVD to victory. The Netherlands utilizes a proportional representation system of voting in their elections, where the seats won by a party to Parliament are reflective of the votes of all citizens across the country. Wilders' PVV came in second with twenty seats, gaining five seats in Parliament. The centrist CDA and D66 parties both won nineteen seats.
Dutch labour party also sees massive defeat
Also surprising in the election was the performance of the PvdA and GL parties. The GL is a centre-left party with a focus on environmental issues, which gained ten seats in the election. The PvdA party, the Dutch social democratic party, also known as the Labour party, lost an incredible twenty-nine seats in the election.