Populist Wilders Drops In Polls On The Eve Of Dutch Election

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Populist candidate Geert Wilders looks unlikely to pull off an upset and emerge as the winner in Wednesday’s Dutch election, according to the final polls.

An Ipsos poll released Tuesday gave Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) 20 seats in the 150-member parliament, down three from last week. An I&O Research poll put the party at 16 seats, a drop of four from the day before. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals lead in both poll with 27 and 29 seats, respectively.

The polling took place after a diplomatic crisis emerged between the Netherlands and Turkey over the weekend. Rutte’s government barred Turkish ministers from speaking at a rally in Rotterdam, which appears to have given him a boost in polls. Dutch voters also considered Rutte the winner in a debate between the two frontrunners Monday night, according to the I&O Research survey.

PVV is running on a platform centered around reversing “Islamization” of the Netherlands and taking the country out of the European Union. Rutte urged voters Monday to stop the populist “domino effect” in Europe by rejecting Wilders. (RELATED: Dutch PM Begs Voters To Stop Nationalist ‘Domino Effect’)

“Remember Brexit. We all thought that could never happen. Remember the U.S. elections,” Rutte said.

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