Nearly 13 million Dutch voters are expected to decide on Wednesday between nationalist candidate Geert Wilders and the current Prime Minister Mark Rutte during their parliamentary election.
Wilders, an outspoken critic of globalism, sees the religion of Islam not only as a problem, but as an exponential threat to Western civilization. "Islam is not a religion, it is an ideology," Wilders believes. "The ideology of a retarded culture."
According to the AP:
Wilders’ one-page election manifesto includes pledges to close borders to immigrants from Muslim nations, shuttering mosques and banning the Quran, as well as taking the Netherlands out of the European Union.
Prime Minister Rutte, on the other hand, is the established, two-term incumbent who believes in open borders and forced integration of Muslim people into the Dutch community. He represents the status quo and said this election "is a chance for a big democracy like the Netherlands to make a point to stop this toppling over of the domino stones of the wrong sort of populism."
Early Wednesday morning, Europe Elects tweeted that turnout was up six percent from the 2012 election at the same stage. It added: “Massive increase in #Amsterdam voter turnout (13:00 CET): 25.8%, up from 14.1% in 2012.”
Pepijn Bergsen, Netherlands analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, tweeted: “Polls have tended to suggest similar or slightly higher levels of turnout as in 2012, which was 74.6%."
According to the "Express," one woman sounded eerily similar to American voters in the 2016 presidential election.
"I am voting for Wilders. I hope he can make a change to make the Netherlands better," said Wendy de Graaf, who was dropping off her kids at school. "I don't agree with everything he says...but I feel that immigration is a problem."
Polls close at 9 p.m. local time Wednesday night.
11:45 am Update:
Europe Elects reports that ballots are “running out” and some polling stations because of high voter turnout.
“Turnout in some polling stations hits 100%. Turnout today to surpass 80%, maybe even 85% (2012: 74.6%). Media reports some station have run out of ballots.”
5:30 pm Update:
Prime Minister Rutte's party has taken the lead in the election, exit polls for the national broadcaster NOS have indicated.