Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
World

Dutch Election Rivals Clash in Televised Debate

Wilders' Party for Freedom, or PVV, has been sliding in polls recently but is still close to Rutte's VVD

Right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (L) leave the stage after a national televised debate, the first head-to-head meeting of the two political party leaders since the start of the election campaign, at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, March 13, 2017, photo: Yves Herman POOL, via AP
5 months ago

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his main rival at national elections, the far-fight populist Geert Wilders clashed Monday in their only nationally televised face-to-face debate ahead of Wednesday’s vote, with Wilders calling Rutte untrustworthy and Rutte responding by saying a Wilders government would plunge the Netherlands into chaos.

The Dutch election is being seen as a key indicator of the future of populism in Europe after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. Later this year, two far bigger European nations, France and Germany, also go to the polls.

Wilders’ Party for Freedom, or PVV, has been sliding in polls recently but is still close to Rutte’s VVD.

“On Wednesday the Netherlands has the chance to prevent us waking up on March 16 and you are the biggest party,” Rutte told Wilders. “That chance is still very real. That would mean the biggest party is one that walks away when it gets difficult, which puts party interest above the national interest.”

The prime minister was referring to Wilders’ abandoning support for Rutte’s first minority coalition in 2012 by refusing to back a tough austerity package.

Wilders, in turn, accused Rutte of breaking election pledges and vowed that taking the Netherlands out of the European Union — one of Wilders’ key pledges — would allow the Netherlands “to become the boss in our own country again.”

But in a debate that focused on the economy, health care and immigration, Rutte insisted Wilders did not offer real solutions to problems.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) and Right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders leave after a national televised debate, the first head-to-head meeting of the two political party leaders since the start of the election campaign, at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Monday, March 13, 2017. Photo: Yves Herman POOL, via AP

Wilders is unlikely to be able to form the next government even if he wins the popular vote as all mainstream parties have ruled out working with him. The Netherlands’ proportional representation voting system guarantees coalitions.

Referring to the ongoing Dutch diplomatic row with Turkey over Rutte’s decision to block two ministers from addressing rallies in Rotterdam, Wilders said Rutte should “at least throw the Turkish ambassador and his staff out of the country.”

Rutte used the barb to attack Wilders who, like President Donald Trump, often communicates via tweets, portraying Wilders as unfit to lead.

“This is the difference between tweeting from the couch and running the country,” Rutte said. “If you run the country you have to take sensible decisions.”

Earlier Monday, Rutte said he wants the Netherlands to turn the tide of populism in this week’s parliamentary election.

“Remember the Brexit. We all thought that would never happen. Remember the U.S. elections,” he told reporters in Rotterdam. “So let’s not make that mistake again. These elections are crucial. Let us stop the domino effect right this week, this Wednesday. The domino effect of the wrong sort of populism winning in this world.”

In the debate, Rutte mocked one of Wilders’ election pledges — to ban the Quran — asking if he intended to establish a “Quran police” to go door to door confiscating Islam’s holy book.

“What we have to do to protect our borders is not make agreements with people like Mr. Erdoğan,” Wilders said, in a reference to the European Union’s migrant deal with Turkey. Instead the government must “shut the Dutch borders here.”

The two leaders are due to take part in one final pre-election debate with other political leaders Tuesday night.

MIKE CORDER

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
World

Venezuela Congress Defies Push to Take o ...

45 mins ago
World

Physicist Hawking Criticizes UK Health S ...

3 hours ago
World

Finland Stabbings 'a Likely Terror Act;' ...

4 hours ago
Sports

Erik Jones Wins 1st Cup Pole in Critical ...

18 hours ago
Most Popular

Thousands to Be Evacuated From Lebanon-S ...

By The Associated Press
World

UAEM Celebrates 45th Anniversary of Medi ...

By The News
Mexico

German Toolmakers Open up Shop in San Mi ...

By Ricardo Castillo
Business

A Chronicle of Nota Roja in Mexico

By Guillermo Verduzco
Living

A New Spin on Curly Hair

By Thérèse Margolis
Living