What Does The Dutch Election Result Mean?

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Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders speaks to the press on election night. (Photo: REMKO DE WAAL /AFP/Getty Images)

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders fell short of expected gains in yesterday’s Dutch general election.  Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), gained 5 seats, but still finished second.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who will now have a chance to form a coalition and govern for a third term, hailed the election as “an evening in which the Netherlands after Brexit, after the American elections said ‘Stop’ to the wrong kind of populism.”

With 95% of the votes counted the results were as follows (out of 150 seats):

VVD (Mark Rutte, centre-right) 33 seats

PVV (Wilders, right) 20 seats

CDA ( 19 seats

D66 19 seats

The election results showed two things about the issue of tackling radical Islam in Europe.

The first is that despite support from a sizable minority of the population, Wilders has been unable to secure a broader base of support for his program, which includes banning the Quran, shutting down all mosques and Islamic schools and ending all immigration from Muslim countries.

This is heartening for those who do not wish to see opposition to Islamism become an attack against all Muslims.

The second lesson is that the problem is not going away. There is a sizable portion of people, both in Holland and elsewhere who sincerely believe that the problem of extremism is unsolvable without either destroying Islam itself or banishing it from the West.

That proportion is also growing.

It seems unlikely that they will be able to gain total power, but until the problem of radical Islam is solved, they will not fade away.

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Elliot Friedland

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.