His centre-right party VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) lost 8 seats but remains by far the largest group in the new elected parliament with 33 seats of the 150. Rutte's outgoing government lost a total of 37 of its 79 seats. VVD's coalition partner PvdA (Labour Party) has been particularly brutally crushed by the voters and is reduced from 38 seats to just 9! A double loss for Rutte, as party leader and as prime-minister, but… he has been proclaimed the winner and will, no doubt, succeed himself.
Geert Wilders' anti-Islam PVV (Party for Freedom) ended in second place. It won 5 seats and went from 15 to 20 and Wilders is considered to be the one who lost the election. But from who or what did he lose? From polls and prognoses! Nobody in The Netherlands expected that PVV should become the biggest party; nobody, including his own supporters and probably not even the man himself, expected that Wilders would become the next prime-minister.
The gladness and relief about the defeat of populism in The Netherlands is naïve and short sighted. Listening to some of the leaders of Dutch political parties during the election campaigns, one found the influence of Wilders. The man didn't make it, but his ideas are trickling through in the minds and programmes of some Dutch mainstream parties.