Geert Wilders’s promise to bring a populist “revolution” to Europe fell flat on Wednesday night after his anti-immigrant Party for Freedom failed to live up to supporters’ expectations in a closely-watched Dutch general election.
The possibility that the far-Right firebrand could become the largest party in the Dutch parliament had sent tremors through Europe’s political establishment in recent days fearing yet further destabilisation following the UK vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
In the event Mr Wilders won just 20 seats, according to several exit polls, and was soundly beaten by Mark Rutte, the incumbent centre-Right Dutch prime minister, whose VVD Party was on track to becoming the largest party in the Netherlands 150-seat parliament with 33 seats.
The CDA and centrist Democrats 66 tied for third with 19 each, data provided by the ANP news agency showed.
Even though Mr Rutte’s total was 8 seats below 2012, the clear vote in favour of his ruling VVD party was welcomed by leading figures from across the EU’s political establishment which is seeking to reboot the European Union after Brexit.