Dutch voters buck populist trend: exit polls
Pro-EU parties in the Netherlands are on track for a surprise win in the European election, according to exit polls.
Eurosceptics appear to have failed to make the forecasted gains.
The Labour Party of socialist European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans looked set to win five out of the 26 Dutch seats, according to pollster Ipsos.
“There is a clear majority of people in the Netherlands, if you count them all together, who want the European Union to continue playing a role in tackling problems that need to be solved,” said Timmermans, who is the lead social-democrat candidate for the European Commission’s presidency.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal party was set to win four seats, as was its coalition party, the religious-conservative Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
Populist parties look set to be disappointed although official results are not due until Sunday evening, along with the rest of the EU.
Thierry Baudet’s new populist Forum for Democracy (FvD) looked set to win three seats, at the apparent expense of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders, which was set to lose three MEPs.
Both parties were projected to return five MEPs each, at the expense of centrist parties.
Denied their vote
UK exit polls are not available due to electoral law, although there have been complaints from numerous non-British EU citizens in the UK being refused a vote.
The Electoral Commission blamed the decision to postpone Brexit and take part in the election at short notice, which had caused chaos.
The UK government could now face court action, observers have warned.
Reports of voters being crossed off the electoral register have become a common theme across the UK.
The hashtag #DeniedMyVote began trending on Twitter amid confusion among election officials and administrative errors.
Some voters claimed they were told to “vote in your own country” despite living in the country for decades. Others described trips across the country to ensure they could vote after postal votes blunders that were described as mixups.
Anneli Howard, a barrister who specialises in EU law, said it amounted to breaches of Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which states that EU citizens have “the right to vote…under the same conditions as nationals of that state”.
Howard said: “If EU citizens are being asked to fill out additional forms that UK nationals are not, that’s discrimination.”
Rights campaigner Tanja Bueltmann said the election was a “scandal we knew was coming”, and one Theresa May “chose not to prevent”.
The Dutch appear to have bucked the populist trend. Picture credit: PXHere