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Voters Reject the “Dutch Trump”

March 20, 2017
Plain English Version

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gives 'high five' to children after casting his vote for the Dutch general election in The Hague, Netherlands, Photo credit: Patrick Post AP Photo.

People around the world watched the Dutch election. Geert Wilders was one candidate. He said the kinds of things Donald Trump said in his presidential campaign. He indicated that he loathed Muslims and immigrants. He wanted the Netherlands to leave the European Union. He was “Netherlands First.”

Geert Wilders

His hair was odd looking.

There was a big question. Would the populism that led to “Brexit” and the Trump victory in America spread to Holland? The answer is no.

Here is some background. Americans are the people of the United States. The Dutch are the people of the Netherlands. Sometimes you hear or read about Holland. It means the Netherlands. People often refer to the country of the Netherlands as Holland. Holland is a large region in the country. The most famous city in the country is Amsterdam.

Elections are upcoming in Germany and France. There are far-right candidates in both elections in both countries. No one is saying the threat of right-wing candidates is over. Still, many feel pleased with the outcome of the Dutch vote.

The Dutch election brought out 82 percent of the voters! The party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte did well. He will remain Prime Minister. He will form a government. The campaign was much like the one in the United States.  But Prime Minister Rutte moved his party toward the political center. This may have helped him with moderate voters.

Election results in Great Britain and the U.S. are causing people to think. Is populism the way to go? It is true that immigration is a problem in Europe. It is also true that people worry about stagnant job growth.

Europe sees the great confusion in Great Britain and the U.S. It is making people fear for their countries. An expert said the Trump factor made people “think twice about voting for a populist. People have seen that if you elect a populist, you can get all kinds of wacky politics.”

The Dutch have a long tradition of tolerance. Candidate Wilders’ views were extreme. People are also watching the election in France. The French far-right candidate is Marine Le Pen. She is trying to moderate her views. The first round of that election is on April 23, 2017.

Others are watching what is happening in Italy. The goal of the Italian populist “Five Star Movement” is to abandon the Euro currency. It is calling for a referendum. That would create chaos in the Eurozone.

People are still holding their breath in Europe.

Source: The New York Times March 16, 2017

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