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Firebrand Wilders Leads Ahead of Dutch Elections

(REUTERS) – Campaigning for the Dutch election kicks off on Wednesday with anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders frontrunner in a vote that will test the anti-establishment sentiment that swept Britain out of the European Union and Donald Trump into the U.S. presidency.

Wilders, a eurosceptic, anti-immigration fan of Trump has dubbed the March 15 parliamentary election the start of a “Patriotic Spring” in Europe, where French and German voters go to the polls in May and September.

Unlike Trump’s win and the Brexit vote, it will not be a shock if Wilders and his Party for Freedom win, he has led in opinion polls for most of the past two years and the fragmented political landscape means a coalition government of four or more parties is all but inevitable.

His main rival, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the conservative VVD Party, is banking on a strengthening economic recovery to restore popularity lost during the austerity years of 2012-2014.

(Read more from Reuters here)

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