Le Pen foes relish Dutch vote, but French election may be different

Reuters/Brian Love/03-16-17

Adversaries of Marine Le Pen expressed relief on Thursday after her ally Geert Wilders won fewer seats than expected in a Dutch election, but analysts warned against reading too much into the result ahead of France’s tight presidential race.

They said far-right leader Le Pen’s campaign in France is better planned and targeted than that of Wilders’ party, while a standoff between the Dutch and Turkish governments had given a “one-off” boost to incumbent Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte.

Centre-right Rutte’s decisive victory over anti-immigrant, eurosceptic Wilders delighted European Union leaders and others concerned about rising populism across the bloc in the wake of last year’s shock Brexit vote.

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