He was also recently knighted in the Netherlands for his services to the Dutch-German relations.
The vote is the first to follow two populist earthquakes past year: the election of Donald Trump in the United States and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
He used sports terminology to describe the rise of populism around the world.
The Dutch Green Left party, led by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, has won an informal election held among students a day before the Netherlands goes to the polls for real. “You know what it will cost. don’t do it”.
Perpetual head of investment strategy for multi asset Matt Sherwood agreed that the “real danger” in the Dutch election was its potential impact on sentiment elsewhere. A recent projection of seats by Tom Louwerse of the University of Leiden indicates that at least four parties will be required to form a coalition (the current government is a coalition between two).
28 parties are competing for 150 seats, with 76 required to form a majority.
Political risk consultants Eurasia Group said government formation was likely to be lengthy and could result in a weak coalition that would determine European Union policy at a critical time for the bloc. Wilders called his opponent the “prime minister of foreigners” and said he will prioritize Dutch citizens.
Despite its splintered political landscape the Dutch vote is mainly pitching centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte against nationalist Geert Wilders.
This has proved good news for Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist, who polls show would reach the second round of the election, where his opponent is forecast to be far-right leader Marine Le Pen. This trend has reversed over the last few weeks, however.
When will the coalition talks begin? Most parties have pledged not to govern with the PVV.
Led by Alexander Pechtold, D66 is a pro-EU party and is often compared to UK’s Liberal Democrats. His party is campaigning on a theme of “time for change”, which has drawn support especially from younger voters.
The vote has boiled down to a tight race between MP Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) and Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Liberals (VVD).
And he said Mr Rutte was “scaremongering” as he accused the PM of saying a year ago Britain was “almost disappearing off the face of the Earth”, while the far-right politician pointed out “They’re doing better than ever!”
Even if the populist party of Wilders wins in the Netherlands, a government with the PVV is highly unlikely. While this exchange earned Wilders a conviction from a Dutch court for “inciting discrimination” last December, he received no fine or sentence, and the verdict has seemingly had little effect on his popularity.
Gaining the support of EU chiefs and other European leaders, Mr Rutte barred Turkish Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from entering the country to attend a rally supporting constitutional reforms in Turkey, and he also ejected a Turkish minister who drove to the city for the rally from Germany.