Up to 13 million Dutch people are getting ready to vote tomorrow in the general election seen as a face-off between Mr Wilders and the current Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Mr Wilders, the populist leader of the anti-Islamist Party for Freedom (PVV), will debate other Dutch party leaders on television tonight, just hours before the knife-edge election. 

It comes after Mr Wilders exchanged insults with Mr Rutte, from the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), during a heated debate in the Netherlands last night – the first time they have come face-to-face. 

The Economist Intelligence Unit said: “Pollsters indicate that a majority of voters are still in doubt between several parties, suggesting that these debates could have a significant influence on the final result.” 

Geert Wilders takes on Mark RutteAFP Getty Peilingwijzer

Geert Wilders takes on Mark Rutte in Netherlands election

Meanwhile, Mr Rutte is taking a tough line on Turkey after banning Turkish ministers from speaking in Rotterdam as part of a row over Ankara’s political campaigning among emigres. 

He has said “inflammatory remarks” by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who compared the Dutch to the Nazis, would not help de-escalate a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Mr Erdogan wants to gain support from Dutch Turks as part of his bid to win sweeping new powers in a referendum in Turkey on April 16.

With only a day to go before the election in the Netherlands, here is a look at the latest news, polls and updates. 


Dutch Prime Minister out campaigning on Tuesday March 14

Tuesday March 14

9.10pm GMT update – The latest polls have left Mr Wilders’ anti-Islam party in fifth place in one survey and third in another.

The final poll from I&O Research put Wilders’ party on 16 seats in the 150-member lower house of parliament – down four seats from their poll yesterday.

And the last Ipsos survey gave the Freedom Party 20 seats, a drop of three from last week.

Both polls showed Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals gaining three seats, to 27 and 29 respectively.

8.50pm GMT update – That’s that for this evening’s debate. With 13 leaders throwing insults around it was fairly hectic.

Only tomorrow will tell whether each of their messages got through as voters go to the polls in one of the most fraught Dutch elections in years.

8.40pm GMT update – Mr Wilders has said Mr Asscher “let in those Turks who were rioting last weekend, you let in those reioting refugees in asylum shelters, YOU did that”.

Mr Asscher, attacked Mr Wilders, saying: “The only thing, you, Mr Wilders, is tweeting all day long and only point at the minorities in our society.

Mr Wilders hit out at Mr Asscher, saying: “Let’s make a deal.

“If you want to tackle crime you should deport those foreigners who rape, commit crime and laugh at our police.”

8.30pm GMT update – And Geert Wilders is on. He’s debating with Lodewijk Asscher, of the PvdA Labour Party.

Populist candidate Mr Wilders, said: “What’s funny is that your party is using slogans by the Muslim party DENK.

“The Netherlands is not for everyone, the Netherlands is for the Dutch.

“And your party makes our own Dutch people feel not at home.”

Mr Asscher has accused him of only wanting a Netherlands without the Turkish, without the Muslims, without the refugees.

He added: “I am here for everyone.”

8.15pm GMT update – There is a general anti-EU feeling building up, with Emile Roemer, leader of the Socialist Party, said: “I’m an opponent of the EU. I want a more sovereign country.

“I don’t want a bureaucrat in Brussels leading our country.”

8.10pm GMT update – Jesse Klaver, leader of left wing party, GroenLinks and Sybrand Buma of the centre CDA party are debating.

30-year-old Mr Klaver has accused Mr Buma of being “the problem here”.

He said: “We live in a world where Trump is in power and Brexit has just happened, we don’t need populism.”

8pm GMT update – Jan Roos, journalist and leader of For the Netherlands Party (VNL), a splinter group of populist Geert Wilders’ PVV party, has gone in guns blazing.

He said: “Prime Minister Rutte made a deal with the Devil (Erdogan). We should have never made that deal.”

7.45pm GMT update – Tonight’s final debate has kicked off. A total of 13 party leaders are taking part, with the smaller parties going first and the larger parties second. 

It is expected to last two hours. We will be giving you updates throughout.

Geert WildersNC

Geert Wilders went in guns blazing with his anti-Islam stance

5pm GMT update – One new poll, from I&O Research, shows Mr Wilders falling all the way back to fifth place with just 16 seats. 

But another poll put Mr Wilders in third place with 20 seats, just behind the VVD at 29 seats and the Christian Democrats at 23 seats.  

2pm GMT update – The leader of the Christian Democrats has crept up behind the two main contenders – Mr Wilders and Mr Rutte – in the latest poll of polls.

Sybrand Buma’s Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) is just a point behind Mr Wilders’ PVV and four behind the Mr Rutte’s VVD with just a day to go. 

Mr Buma said that all the pre-election talk had been that the campaign would centre on a rivalry between Mr Wilders and Mr Rutte.  

“What’s left of that dual?” he asked Reuters. “We are getting stronger every day and the chance that we are the biggest on election day is very real, and no one is expecting it.”


A new poll puts Mr Wilders in third place with 20 seats, just behind the VVD and Christian De

Dutch Poll Indicator

This is the latest prediction from the Dutch Poll Indicator

1.30am GMT update: Mr Wilders has been mocked on German television by a comedian who referred to World War Two during a rant about his policies.

Heute Show host Oliver Welke said: “Wilders is very proud of the fact that his so-called election manifesto fits onto one page. 

“This is it. Not even printed on both sides, only on the front. What does it say? ‘We want the Netherlands back.’ 

“Weird, I was sure we gave it back to you in 1945, but hey, I will double check that later.”

1pm GMT update: BMO currency strategist Stephen Gallo said the stronger dollar is weighing on European currencies because the “political outlook for Europe is so uncertain”.

He said: “The worry is that PVV will do better in Holland on Wednesday than what’s already priced in (and) you’ve got these tensions in the UK because of the Article 50 trigger.” 

11am GMT update: The Dutch Polling Indicator, which combines Dutch polls, shows that the Prime Minister’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) remains in the lead. 

Its new poll average put the VVD at 17 per cent, three percentage points ahead of the PVV at 14 per cent with just two days to go before the election. 

Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Pepijn Bergsen said that it was the first Dutch Polling Indicator poll of polls since the Netherlands’ spat with Turkey. 

Mr Bergsen said that the latest poll showed a “small bump for VVD and PVV at the expense of their centrist chasers”. 

10.40am GMT update: There are fears that euro could fall this week if Mr Wilders win the election in the Netherlands. 

3.30am GMT update: Turkey has banned the Dutch ambassador from returning to Ankara and suspended diplomatic talks as the war of words between the nations escalates.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said: “The Dutch government’s conduct is unacceptable by any standards.

“This tension, this crisis, this chaos — whatever you call it — it is not us who caused it.

“Turkey will not suffer from this. Turkey protects its rights and dignity, but I would like to stress that it is the Netherlands and many other European countries that will bear the brunt.”

Geert Wilders is taking on Mark Rutte in a TV debate on Monday

Monday, March 13

7.45pm GMT update: Minutes after the debate finishes, Turkey files a case at the European Court of Human Rights over the Dutch Government banning the Turkish foreign minister from the Netherlands.

7.30pm GMT update: Things are getting heated during the debate. The PM, said: “I will not govern with you, no, never, no.”

Mr Wilders just replied with: “People don’t believe you.”

7pm GMT update: The debate has turned to immigration and Dutch identity, with Mr Rutte accusing Mr Wilders of using “voodoo numbers” on immigration and saying closing borders is a “fake solution”.

Mr Wilders has hit back in his well-known anti-immigration style, saying there is “no place for Islam” in the Netherlands.

Mr Rutte said: “We don’t look at people’s religion, we look at people’s behaviour.”

6.45pm GMT update: Mr Rutte has told the audience the Dutch have the “best health care in Europe”, which Mr Wilders is turning into a migrant issues, saying 130,000 asylum seekers receive free health care.

He said: “You, Mr Rutte, are not Prime Minister of the Netherlands, but Prime Minister of foreigners.”

6.15pm GMT update: Mr Wilders is not holding back – he has now accused Mr Rutte of lying to the Dutch voters for the past five years.

6pm GMT update: The pair have been flinging insults at each other from the offset.

Mr Wilders has accused the PM of scaremongering over Brexit, saying the UK is “doing better than the rest”.

5.30pm GMT update: The televised debate between Mr Wilders and Mr Rutte has begun at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

4.50pm GMT update: The Dutch Polling Indicator, which combines Dutch polls, shows that the Prime Minister’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is in the lead. 

Its latest poll average put the VVD at 16 per cent, three percentage points ahead of the PVV at 13 per cent with just two days to go before the election. 

4.30pm GMT update: Mr Wilders made a “mistake” with his lavish praise for Donald Trump which has severely dented his chances of winning, a top pollster has told Express.co.uk.

And Tim de Beer, a senior analyst at Kantar TNS polling company, said: “Wilders made a mistake backing Trump. People didn’t like that.”

4pm GMT update: Mr Rutte has admitted Geert Wilders has a “real” chance of winning the upcoming election.

The Prime Minister said a victory for Wilders’ party, the PVV, would “send a signal to the rest of the world” and urged voters to stop “the wrong populism”. 

Mr Rutte said: “There is a real risk that on March 16 we can wake up in this country and Geert Wilders is leading the biggest party and that will send a signal to the rest of the world.” 

2pm GMT update: The latest Peil.nl poll found that the VVD has taken the lead in the polls and is expected to win 24 seats, two more than the PVV.

1pm GMT update: Mr Wilders has called the Netherlands’ ethnic Turks to be stripped of their dual citizenship or go back to Turkey unless they reject Mr Erdogan’s remarks. 

He said: “Are they loyal to Holland? Then they should reject the remarks of President Erdogan and they are as equal as anybody else.

“But if today proves in the coming days that they support the crazy and harsh remarks of Mr Erdogan then I invite them all to leave Holland, to go to Turkey and never come back because then their loyalty is not to Holland, but to the Turkish Republic.”

Noon GMT update: A snap poll by Maurice de Hond, released on Sunday evening, showed 86 percent of Dutch voters approved of Mr Rutte’s handling of the Turkish issue.

“In times when the nation is hit by something like this, there’s the inclination for people to get behind the government,” said Hans Gosling, political commentator at Dutch newspaper Trouw.

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