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Sukyong Yang / April 12, 2017

Global Strategy First Quarter Review

This year’s European election cycle reminds us of a tension filled three act play, with all the elements of edgy characters, criminal charges, voter insecurity, and the risk of disintegration of a political union. In this European play, the first act took place in The Netherlands. The leading character was Mark Rutte, the leader of the incumbent Liberal party (VVD) representing the old regime, who was astute enough to understand the discontent among the people. He won the Dutch election, thereby fending off the antagonist. In this case, the antagonist is Geert Wilders, a person with a checkered past including being found guilty of inciting discrimination against Dutch Moroccans back in 2014. Yet, his campaign platform continued to focus on an anti-immigration message. We consider Rutte’s win a large victory against populist rhetoric of anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic politics.