Dutch election: voters go to the polls in the Netherlands

Posted March 16, 2017

He says, "I don't want a leader of a country who is proud we no longer give refugees a warm home or welcome when they are threatened by war and violence". He's famous as the pollster for the LA Times who forecast Trump's election win.

The leader of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom insisted: "The Netherlands does not belong to all of us".

But during the debate in Rotterdam on Monday (13 March), the prime minister dismissed this, saying he had no regrets over how he handled the situation, adding: "80% of Turkish integrate within the Dutch population". He has also inspired followers who are wary of immigration (especially from Muslim countries) and see it as detrimental to Dutch identity and security.

Second on the list was the 8 p.m. news by national broadcaster NOS, which preceded the debate, with 2.5 million viewers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded that the Dutch government's barring Ankara officials from speaking to voters about an upcoming Turkish referendum on April 16 represented a straying from democracy akin to "Nazi practices". Early signs are suggesting that the turnout this Wednesday could dwarf that election.

Voting takes place against the background of a vocal row between Holland and Turkey.

Turnout was 81 percent, higher than the 74.6 percent at the last parliamentary election five years ago.

"Students choose hope over fear", Klaver tweeted.

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He added that a lack of trade deal with the United Kingdom would also be detrimental to the Netherlands, which now exports 8 percent of its goods to Britain.

"The Dutch want their country back", Geert Wilders said in a video following his December conviction for inciting discrimination.

The school election is organized by Pro Demos, an independent organization that informs the public about Dutch democracy.

Dutch voters head to the polls Wednesday to select a new prime minister in an election that could send shockwaves across Europe.

If the results are confirmed, Rutte will likely get the chance to form the next coalition and could possibly turn to the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Democracy party D66, which both matched Wilders with a predicted 19 seats. "But Wilders plays a major role in the tone and content of the campaign and Wilders - even if he doesn't win a single seat - has already won because the two biggest right-wing parties have taken over his policies".

Following last year's shock Brexit referendum and Donald Trump's victory in the United States, the Dutch vote is being watched as a gauge of the strength of populism on the continent ahead of key elections in France and Germany.