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Dutch elections
 

Netherlands stops the advance of populism

Eight in ten citizens voted in key elections. Far-right candidate only gets 13% of the vote and Right-wing Liberal Mark Rutte will try tro form government. Christians are called to “ministry of reconciliation”, evangelicals say.

SOURCES Agencies, Evangelical Focus AUTHOR Evangelical Focus AMSTERDAM 16 MARCH 2017 10:40 h GMT+1
netherlands, vote Votes are counted in the Dutch election night. / ANP

The very high participation - 82% - was one of the highlights of the Dutch election night.



Mark Rutte’s VVD (right-wing Liberals) came in the first place. With 21% of the votes, the winner got 33 seats (-8), far from the 75-seat majority.



“After Brexit, after the US elections, the people have said no to another country where the domino stone of the wrong side of populism would topple over”, Rutte said.



The challenge for the former Prime Minister is to find the support of other parties to form a stable government.





After being hailed as the favourite by many polls, far-right candidate Geert Wilders only got 13% of the votes and 20 seats (+5). His anti-migration and anti-EU discourse received 1 million votes but will have no options to lead the government. Wilders assumed he would be the main party of the opposition.





The Christian Democratic Party and the D66 (Left-wing Liberals) got 19 seats each, and will participate in conversations to form the new government.



National media spoke of the Green Left (14) as one of the big winners of the night, whereas Social Democrats (14) experienced a great defeat.



 



REACTIONS IN EUROPE



European leaders such as French President François Hollande expressed their congratulations after “extremism was defeated”:







Other EU leaders and heads of government expressed their relief after the far-right failed to convince the Dutch electorate.



 



EVANGELICALS: “THE CHURCH HAS MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION”



The European Evangelical Alliance also reacted to the result in the Netherlands.



“While EEA remains neutral regarding party politics, it is never neutral about the importance of good government to fulfil its God-given role of ensuring peace and justice for all and protection for the most vulnerable.”



 



The European evangelical body called to pray that “a government will be formed which can reunite the Netherlands; a positive, uniting vision will emerge which takes into account people’s legitimate concerns and fears.”



In addition, Christians should pray that “the Church will fulfil its ministry of reconciliation within tense communities and will be confident in sharing the Good News of Jesus to all;  truth will be valued by politicians, the media and voters.”



Days before the election, the Secretary General of the Dutch Evangelical Alliance (Missie Nederland), Jan C. Wessels, had told Evangelical Focus he hoped that “populism would be stopped”.



An pre-election evangelical manifesto had also said the “kingdom” of the Church “is an outrageous utopia – too radical for the compromise of your coalitions, too embracing for your borders, too demanding for responsible policy makers.”



 



PROTESTANT PARTIES



The outspoken Protestant Christian parties also won seats. The Protestant Christian Union won 5 seats, and the SGP (Reformed Calvinists) won 3.


 

 





 
 
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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.