PVV leader Geert Wilders speaks to the press on election night in The Hague, on March 15, 2017. / AFP / ANP / Remko de Waal
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Dutch center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte scored a resounding victory over anti-Islam and anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election Wednesday, offering huge relief to other governments across Europe facing a wave of nationalism.A number of parties including Rutte's VVD and the third place Christian Democrat party (CDA) have already adopted most of Wilders' anti-immigration platfom, if not his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric.With around 95 percent of votes counted, Rutte's VVD Party won 33 of parliament's 150 seats, down from 41 at the last vote in 2012 .At 78 percent, turnout was the highest in a decade in an election that was a test of whether the Dutch wanted to end decades of liberalism and choose a nationalist, anti-immigrant path by voting for Wilders and his promise to "de-Islamicise" the Netherlands and quit the European Union.The spat did not hurt the chances of Denk, a party supported by Dutch Turks, which looked set to win three seats, becoming the first ever ethnic minority party in parliament, in a possible sign of deepening ethnic division.That means it will likely take months for Rutte to negotiate a ruling coalition, with at least three other parties needed to reach a majority in parliament.
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