Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Czech politicians welcome election results in Netherlands

ČTK |
17 March 2017

Prague, March 16 (CTK) - Most Czech politicians, including Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, welcome the results of the Wednesday general election in the Netherlands and they call the victory of PM Mark Rutte and the defeat of Islam opponent Geert Wilders good news for Europe, they said on Thursday.

Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) will have 33 seats in the 150-member parliament, while the nationalist Party for Freedom (PVP) of Wilders will have 20 MPs.

"Populism, an anti-European campaign and comparison with [U.S. President Donald] did not secure the PM's post to Wilders. This is an encouraging example from the Netherlands," Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) tweeted.

"The victory of Mark Rutte, a representative of a mainstream democratic political party, sends a hopeful signal to the whole Europe," he added in a press release.

The Dutch election is the first in a series of voting in which populists calling for the EU(s destruction will fight against politicians who see the future in European cooperation, Sobotka added.

"The Netherlands has set out well on the series of elections in 2017 on behalf of the whole Europe. Congratulations," Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) tweeted on Thursday.

The ANO chairman, Deputy PM and Finance Minister, Andrej Babis, whose movement is a partner of the VVD on the European level, congratulated Rutte on his victory.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) also expressed satisfaction with the election result.

"Though the latest opinion polls showed the opposite, the populist Wilders suffered a defeat thanks to high turnout. This is a positive piece of news for the Netherlands and Europe," Stropnicky tweeted.

"It has turned out that supporters of the EU split are weaker than expected. The reason has prevailed," Deputy PM Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told CTK.

The Netherlands is an export economy like the Czech Republic and the exit from the EU common market would hit it hard, he pointed out.

In his campaign, Wilders was speaking about the Netherlands' possible departure from the EU.

Opposition Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala said the election result did not surprise him.

"Even if traditional parties are weakened, this does not mean at all that populists and radical parties will start winning elections in Europe. Perhaps all democrats have learnt a lesson from the strengthening of the populists' position," he said.

He added that the Dutch election was to a certain extent influenced by the rift with Turkey, which helped Rutte.

"The results of the election in the Netherlands is good news for the whole of Europe. They show that the defeat of populists and anti-European parties is possible. In view of the current developments in the world, Europe needs to be strong," opposition TOP 09 first deputy head Marek Zenisek said.

The opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) chairman and a Czech opponent of Islam, Tomio Okamura, said he considered Wilder's second place in the election a success.

Rutte has won thanks to the fact that in the past days, his government set itself apart against Turkey, whose ministers intended to lead a political campaign in the Netherlands ahead of the Turkish referendum to strengthen the president's powers, Okamura pointed out.

"We can learn the only lesson from this - voters simply want politicians to resist the Muslim dictate in Europe," Okamura texted to CTK.

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