EU elections: Anti-Islam party big winner (update 2)

Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam party PVV is the big winner in the European elections in the Netherlands with almost 17% of the vote.

With 100% of the votes counted by late Friday morning, the PVV has taken four of the 25 Dutch seats in the European parliament.
Under EU rules, the results of individual country elections are supposed to be kept secret until all the countries have voted. The Netherlands regards transparency as more important and stresses the formal results will not be made known until Sunday evening.
The biggest loser is the Labour party (PvdA) which saw its support go down from seven seats to three.
European super state
‘This is a fantastic result,’ said Wilders. ‘…This is good news for everyone who is opposed to the European super state which is slowly becoming Euro Arabia,’ the Volkskrant quoted him as saying.
The PVV wants the European parliament to be abolished and says it will not join any of the European parliamentary factions.
During a live tv debate with party leaders, Wilders called on the cabinet to resign.
‘The Christian Democrats have lost a third of their support, Labour has been halved. Normally you would pack your bags. The voter has spoken,’ he said.
CDA remains biggest
The biggest Dutch party remains the Christian Democrats, with 20% of the vote and five seats, compared with seven at the last European elections.
The other big winner is the Liberal Democratic party D66 which has taken three seats, compared with just one at the last European election. D66 fought a staunchly pro-European campaign.
‘There has been a clear no vote and a clear yes vote,’ party leader Alexander Pechtold said.
But he pointed out that the anti-Europe parties had won just eight of the 25 Dutch seats.
‘Europe is the big winner tonight,’ he said.
The left-wing greens GroenLinks also took three seats, an increase of one.
Too close
The right-wing Liberals (VVD) took three seats (down one), the Socialists and orthodox Christian parties each remaining on two. The pro-animal PvdD failed to get enough votes and will not be going to Brussels.
The turnout in the Netherlands was 36.5%, less than at the last EU elections when around 40% voted but more than in 1999.
Big cities
Wilders’ PVV emerged as the biggest party in both Rotterdam and The Hague, while D66 and GroenLinks were clear leaders in Amsterdam and Utrecht.
Turnout in Rotterdam, where the PVV took 22.5% of the vote, was just 29%.
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