What's your reaction to the Dutch election result?
Mar 16 2017 by Lorena Waters
"This night is a night for the Netherlands - after Brexit, after the American elections - where we said stop it, stop it to the wrong kind of populism", Ruttetold cheering supporters at his election night party. "Tonight we'll celebrate a little".
Mr Rutte received congratulatory messages from European leaders and spoke with some by telephone.
In total, 13 parties have won seats in parliament.
The face-off between incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte and Wilders was one of many Dutch electoral battles that have yet to be waged in a deeply fragmented, multi-party system.
The PVV, the center-right Christian Democrats CDA, and the leftist liberals D66 were expected to garner 19 seats each. The Labour Party (PvdA) appears to have suffered significant loses since joining a coalition with the VVD in the last election, and is likely to secure 9 seats.
Newcomers Denk and Forum for Democracy FvD are projected to win three and two seats respectively.
The race is dominated by Prime Minister, Mark Rutte's centre-right party and that of Geert Wilders, running on an anti-immigration platform.
Following Britain's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's election as U.S. president, "the Netherlands said, 'Whoa!' to the wrong kind of populism", said Mr Rutte, who is now poised for a third term as prime minister.
He also mentioned that Marine Le Pen's party in France has a very long-standing membership, predicting that it will gain what it wants regardless of what happens in the elections in the Netherlands or Germany.
In France, outgoing President Francois Hollande said that Rutte's triumph was a "clear victory against extremism" while Jean-Marc Ayrault, Hollande's foreign minister, applauded Dutch voters for "stemming the rise of the far-right".
The French and German votes are still to come, but the Dutch seem to have bucked the populist trend.
"He does not represent a populist wave. The PVV is Wilders. the party is not organized in such a way as to revolt", Vossen said.
Top election issues include the economy, immigration and integration, and healthcare.
The elections today (15 March) were the first in a set of closely watched votes across the European mainland.
During his campaign, Wilders gained support from the LGBTI community.
Even if his party garnered the most votes, he faced an arduous route to the top job given that the right-wing Rutte, and numerous other parties, had ruled out entering into a coalition with him.
An exit poll in the Netherlands shows Jesse Klaver has led his Green Left party to a historic victory, turning it into the largest party on the left wing of Dutch politics for the first time.