Three elections that can completely transform Europe

 
Three elections that can completely transform Europe
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Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin. In that order.

After Brexit and Donald Trump's "shock victory" in the US presidential elections, there are few who dare come with absolute predictions. Anything can happen in the three important elections that are now in store for Europe.

It could be the first time that right-wing populist parties gain power in the heart of Europe. Currently, this type of parties have primarily gained power only in Europe's periphery.

It is the Netherlands who is first out. In polls, Geert Wilders and his strongly immigration critical party PVV clearly has most support - in December, with a response rate of 35 percent, an entire 10 percentage points ahead of the VVD, the party of sitting Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Wilders has clear ambitions. The goal is to become prime minister and "drain the swamp," like Trump, after the "multicultural elites" who have ruled until now. The Dutch will be in charge of their own country again, money should no longer be given away to "Brussels and Africa," and there should be "an end to the tsunami of immigrants who do not belong here," says Wilders, who is chosen as the politician of the year in the Netherlands.

That a court has recently found him guilty of racism of Moroccans, worries him very little.

- The Dutch people will absolve me. We will win on March 15, said Wilders recently in an interview with the newspaper De Telegraaf.

Like politicians of the far right in France and Germany, PVV has a sharp sting towards the EU. People want less integration, not more, and if politicians do not soon understand this, a Dutch withdrawal from the EU - a "Nexit" - only becomes more relevant, warns the party.

The warning is equally clear from Marine Le Pen, leader of the party Front National, who now wants to become president of France.

She gets a response rate of around 25 percent in the polls and is thus well ahead to advance from the first round of presidential elections in April to the second and decisive round in May.

Le Pen's promise is a separate French referendum on withdrawal from the EU, Frexit.

Last among the three countries is Germany, which holds elections to parliament in the autumn, in October.

CDU, the Christian Conservative Party of Prime Minister Angela Merkel, mysteriously is still by far the largest with a response rate that fluctuates between 32 and 36 percent. But the party has fallen sharply from levels above 40 percent before the refugee crisis in 2015. About a million asylum seekers came to Germany last year, and Germany has seen an explosion of crimes since, including several terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, the hard-hitting new party AfD on the far right has established itself as the country's third largest, with a support of around 13 percent.

The paradox is that AfD could prove to be the factor that secures Merkel the win - because the party's support can make it impossible for the opposition to win the majority.

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