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EU elections: Polls open in Netherlands as Dutch cast their vote

Polls open in Netherlands ahead of EU Parliament Elections
Polls open in Netherlands ahead of EU Parliament Elections Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Euronews with AP
Published on Updated
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The Netherlands is the only EU country to start its single-day vote early, but it will be followed by Ireland on Friday and the rest of the EU nations over the weekend.

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Polls have opened in the Netherlands as four days of voting in the European Union parliamentary elections begins.

Twenty-seven EU member states will be heading to the polls in the next few days in an election which is projected to see significant gains for the far right.

The results will be announced on Sunday night after all states have completed voting.

It comes six months after Geert Wilders’ far-right Party for Freedom won a landslide victory in the Netherlands, becoming the biggest force in the national parliament.

Polling shows Wilders will build on that popularity, setting the tone for much of the bloc.

Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom is expected to make gains in the EU elections.
Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom is expected to make gains in the EU elections.AP / Robin Utrecht 2011

Since the last EU elections five years ago, populist, far-right and extremist parties are leading governments in three EU nations.

They are also part of governing coalitions in several others, and appear to have surging public support across the continent.

373 million voters will be electing 720 members of the European Parliament. The results will have an impact on issues ranging from global climate policies and defence to migration and geopolitical relations with China and the United States.

In the Netherlands, Wilders’ party could build on its domestic success and surge, possibly overtaking the combined Labour Party and Green Left.

Wilders and one of his likely coalition partners, the Farmer Citizen Movement, are popular among farmers, who have staged regular protests to call for an easing of EU legislation.

The Dutcher politician has in the past called for the Netherlands to leave the EU, but his party’s manifesto for the upcoming election makes no mention of this.

Instead, it urges voters to back the PVV so it can change the EU from within, similar to plans of many other hard-right parties across the bloc.

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