Europe’s mainstream political parties breathed a huge sigh of relief on Thursday after Dutch center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte successfully fended off a serious challenge from Geert Wilder’s far-right nationalists, yet the momentum for populist parties does not appear to have significantly wavered.
Wilders’ anti-Islam anti-European Union Freedom Party had led in several opinion polls for the majority of the campaign but ultimately failed to mimic the Brexit vote and U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory by sealing another anti-establishment triumph.
The result was viewed by many as a bellwether for the rest of Europe ahead of general elections in both France and Germany later this year.
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