Here’s the far left CNN take: “Fears dominate Dutch elections“
Election triumph puts anti-Islam Wilders in line for Dutch Cabinet role
The Freedom Party of the anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders emerged as the third force in Dutch politics last night, more than doubling its number of seats in Parliament in the country’s general elections. Times Online
Earlier this week, Wilders released calculations he says show that nonwestern immigrants are a euro7 billion ($8.6 billion) annual drag on the Dutch budget because of higher criminality and unemployment rates.Â Dutch elections/Islam in Europe
ABC’s Rachael Brown chews the cud:
The anti-Islamist far right looks set to be a strong force in the Dutch national election this June, after Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party made strong gains in local elections.
The party has gained control of one city and is running second in The Hague.
Mr Wilders is a controversial figure in Dutch politics due to his anti-Islamist views.
He likens the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, wants Muslim women who wear headscarves taxed, and wants Muslim immigrants deported. Â More?
Dutch election too close to call
The Dutch parliamentary election is too close to call. Initial exit polls announced after voting bureaus closed at 9:00 pm indicate the Labour Party and the free-market liberal VVD Party in a neck-and-neck race – 31 seats each. Official results are not expected before midnight.
Turnout was the lowest in years as heavy rain showers may have kept some voters at home. Seventy-four percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
Far-right populist Geert Wilders has done better than expected. The initial exit polls give his Freedom Party 22 seats in parliament. That is significantly more than the opinion polls indicated in the last days of campaigning. And it more than doubles the nine seats they won in the last election.
The economy dominated the election campaign. The VVD Party enjoyed a substantial lead during much of the campaign, thanks in part to concern about the country’s growing budget deficit. The next government will implement spending cuts at a level not seen since the early 1980s, and many voters expressed concern about the economy as they were leaving the voting bureaus.
But leadership also played a role in the campaign. After two stints as deputy minister, and nine years as mayor of Amsterdam, Labour’s Job Cohen has become a national authority figure. He says he is now ready to become mayor of the Netherlands. Many voters could easily imagine Mr Cohen as prime minister, in contrast to the VVD’s Mark Rutte.
The evening is almost certain to signal the end of the era for Christian Democrat Jan Peter Balkenende. After presiding over five cabinets in the last eight years, his party looks headed for a historic low. And with the exit polls currently showing Christian Democrats in fourth place, behind the far right-wing Freedom Party, it is a major embarrassment for Balkenende.
The country is waiting with baited breath for the official results. First place brings with it the right to shape a coalition government, and Mr Cohen and Mr Rutte represent different philosophies of how to usher the country through the coming hard times.
One thing is certainly clear: today’s election marks a turning point in Dutch politics.