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Anti-Islamic party of Geert Wilders set for big loss in Dutch elections

The Freedom Party of anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders has lost 11 seats in the parliament.

Geert Wilders Freedom PartyEnlarge
Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) walks in between security men after casting his ballot for the Dutch parliamentary elections in a polling station on September 12, 2012 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Dutch are going to the polls today to vote for the 150 seats in Paliament. (Jasper Juinen/AFP/Getty Images)

The party of anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders has slammed in national elections.

According to the Associated Press, exit polls showed that his anti-Europe, anti-immigration Freedom Party lost 11 seats in parliament, falling from 24 to 13.

"I would have rather stood here with good news, but the voter has spoken: we have lost badly," Wilders told supporters after exit poll results were released.

He said he would continue to "fight," to "to protect the Netherlands against Europe, against mass immigration, against the [European] super-state."

Agence France-Presse wrote that Dutch voters had overwhelmingly rejected anti-EU extremism in favor of pro-European pragmatism.

Centrist parties committed to austerity measures to tackle debt looked to fare well in the election outcome, with polls showing that the ruling Liberals picked up four more seats than rivals Labour.

If the results hold, center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte would be called upon to form a new Liberal-Labour coalition that would keep the Netherlands — and with it the euro zone's fifth-largest economy — closely allied with economic powerhouse Germany, AFP wrote.

"That result shows a very large support in the Netherlands for Rutte's policy," VDD Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said, referring to current prime minister Mark Rutte.

"It shows that making savings is the right course... The results shows that the Dutch are good allies of the Germans," he said.

Wilders — whose used the campaign slogan "Their Brussels, our Netherlands" — had appealed to Dutch voters on a populist platform taking aim at the "bureaucrats in Brussels."

"As far as we are concerned, the September 12 [election] is going to be a big referendum over everything that has to do with the EU," he said at Freedom's election campaign launch in The Hague, AFP reported at the time.

"The European Union is, as far as we are concerned, the subject on which the Netherlands wants an answer."

However, Al Jazeera wrote that Dutch voters were "increasingly getting tired of his yearning for political hysteria," and that they did not want more political crises — rather for politicians to fulfill their responsibilities, including tough austerity measures where necessary.

Final results from the election will be published on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120912/anti-islamic-geert-wilders-dutch-politics-the-netherlands-election