European leaders hail Dutch election result

08:37 • 17.03.17



European leaders have welcomed the result of the Netherlands election, which saw the anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders fail to become the largest in parliament, BBC News reports.


Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centre-right VVD won by some margin.

 

For Francois Hollande of France it was a "clear victory against extremism", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed a "good day for democracy".


The vote was closely watched ahead of elections in France and Germany.


The Netherlands was seen by many as a bellwether for how populist parties will perform in those polls.


In contrast, Turkey, currently embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Netherlands, had little positive to say.


"Hey Rutte, you may have won the election as first party, but you have lost a friend like Turkey," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a rally.


Celebrating victory, Mr Rutte said the Dutch people had rejected "the wrong kind of populism".


"The Netherlands said 'Whoa!'" he declared.

 





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