Right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders has accused the country's victorious Prime Minister Mark Rutte of treating his supporters like 'semi Nazis' after his party lost the General Election.
Rutte's VVD party won with a predicted 32 seats in the 150-seat parliament, while Wilders' populist PVV party is joint second with 19 seats, alongside the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Democracy party (D66).
The anti-Islam politician has previously promised to deliver a Nexit, a Dutch version of Brexit from the EU, and a 'patriotic revolution' to the Dutch people.
The loss represented a decrease of nine seats for Rutte and an increase of seven seats for Wilders.
Speaking after exit polls predicted he had won his third term as Prime Minister, a jubilant Rutte said: 'This is an evening where the Netherlands, after Brexit and Trump, said 'That's enough of the wrong sort of populism'.
Comments that Wilder said were: 'very worrying, as if populists are semi-Nazis'.
However, despite his party's unexpectedly poor position, Wilders has remained upbeat about the future of the PVV.
He tweeted: 'We won seats! The first victory is in! And Rutte hasn't seen the last of me!'
He later said: 'I'd preferred to have been the winner of the elections, but the VVD have lost 10 seats and we're among the winners in second.
'If all the losers like the VVD form a government, we need to have a strong opposition of winners like the PVV.'
Pictured: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte celebrates the results of exit polls showing his party had won the country's General Election
Rutte said his victory was a sign the Netherlands had said: 'That's enough of the wrong sort of populism'. Comments Wilders said treated his supporters like 'semi-Nazis'
Wilders' one-page election manifesto included pledges to close borders to immigrants from Muslim nations, shuttering mosques and banning the Koran, as well as taking the Netherlands out of the European Union.
His Party For Freedom had won 15 seats on the previous general election in 2012, with support reaching its peak in 2015, but his seats dwindled to just 12 before Wednesday's vote.
Speaking as he cast his vote today, he said: 'Whatever the outcome of the election today, the genie will not go back into the bottle. And this patriotic revolution, whether today or tomorrow, will stay.'
Rutte's junior partner in the outgoing coalition, Labour, suffered its worst ever result at the election, winning just nine seats, down from 38 last time.
Rutte - who has vowed never to work alongside Wilders - will now attempt to form a coalition government and could possibly turn to the CDA and the D66.
Pictured: A pie chart showing the current make up of the Dutch Parliament, with Mark Rutte's VVD party holding 40 seats and Wilders PVV holding 12
Pictured: A pie chart showing the make up of the Dutch Parliament as of 2012, with Mark Rutte's VVD party holding 40 seats and Wilders PVV holding 15
A coalition could take weeks or even months, with at least three other parties needed to reach a majority in parliament.
The PM said: 'It seems like for third time in a row the VVD is the Netherlands biggest party.
'Our message to the Netherlands - that we will hold our course, and keep this country safe and stable - got though.'
Officials in France and Germany - both who have elections to fight against resurgent right-wing opposition later in the year - rushed to praise the result as a victory for middle-ground parties.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is set to make France's presidential election run-off in May, while eurosceptic, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany is likely to enter the German federal parliament for the first time in a September election.
This year's elections saw the highest turnout in the past 31 years, with 82 per cent of people going out to vote, according to Ipsos.
It is believed the Rutte took lead because of his tough stance during the Dutch government's recent row with Turkey.
The PM got a last-minute boost from the diplomatic dispute, which allowed him to take a well-timed tough line on a majority Muslim country during an election campaign in which immigration and integration have been key issues.
The spat did not hurt the chances of Denk, a party supported by Dutch Turks, which looked set to win three seats, becoming the first ever ethnic minority party, in a possible sign of deepening ethnic division.
But while Rutte averted what in the early stages of the campaign looked like a possible victory for Wilders, years of austerity pushed down his share of the vote.
Margaritis Schinas, spokesperson for the EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he had spoken to Rutte and congratulated him on his victory.
Mr Juncker added that it was a: 'A vote for Europe, a vote against extremists.'
The defeat for Wilders has also been welcomed by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
A spokesman tweeted a message on her behalf to the Dutch PM saying: 'I look forward to working with you as friends, neighbours and Europeans.'
Rutte - who has vowed never to work alongside Wilders - will now attempt to form a coalition government and could possibly turn to the CDA and the D66
Before the election, Wilders vowed: 'This patriotic revolution, whether today or tomorrow, will stay'
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Far-Right Dutch MP Geert Wilders FAILS to make inroads in general election and accuses victorious PM of treating his populist supporters like 'semi-Nazis' as Merkel and co celebrate
Dutch PM Rutte has claimed victory in elections in the Netherlands that saw his party beat out far-right challenger Wilders. Some see the Dutch poll as a litmus test for populists ahead of French and German elections.
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