On Wednesday, 16th of March 2017 Netherlands had their national elections. Winner of the elections was Mark Rutte from the VVD liberal party who was elected for the second time after he had been elected on 2012 elections. The pre-election period was quite intense due to the uncertain and threatening outcome of the results. The rise of the far right populist candidate, Geert Wilders, was the major concern for the European leaders.
Mr Wilders is well known for his extremist beliefs. He openly has stated that he wants to shut down all the mosques in Netherlands, ban the Koran and the entrance to Muslims in the country and stop the financial aid to third world countries. And all these in a country where the 10% of the population are Muslims. Thus, he has mentioned that he wants to take Netherlands out of the European Union since he believes that his country should only take care of the Dutch people.
The final outcome of the elections was a huge relief for the European leaders because as they mentioned this result is a mark of unity for the EU which has been shaken a lot, especially after Brexit. “The Netherlands are our partners, friends, neighbours. Therefore, I was very happy that a high turnout led to a very pro-European result, a clear signal” mentioned the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This statement without a doubt has a sense of relief and happiness.
After his victory, Mr Rutte called the night of the 16th of March as “an evening in which the Netherlands, after Brexit after the American election, said ‘stop’ to the wrong kind of populism”. Definitely, this statement includes many different things and feelings. The Dutch people showed that they are not affected by the wrong populism. They sent a message as a nation to Europe and all over the world telling that democracy, equality and unity are the main factors that each nation needs. With these fundamental elements, countries can succeed and become great and not with misleading policies which do not promote solidarity and egalitarianism.
2016 was a controversial year and a year of changes regarding the international politics. Populist politicians have managed to gain peoples’ trust and sympathy. Typical examples consist the Brexit on June 2016 when British people vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s election on November 2016. In both countries the main slogan was one: Let’s make our countries great again. Based on peoples’ anxiety and ignorance mainly about the immigration crisis populist politicians succeeded to manipulate the voters and make them believe that they are the solution to their problems. But, this result on the Dutch election showed that there is still hope for being united. No country made it on its own and the European Union is a constitution which proved that if nations are united they can succeed many things together. This victory might not seem very big since there is a decline on the votes that Mr Rutte earned comparing to 2012 but definitely, it is a huge victory for democracy and a victory against the authoritarianism of the edges.