While Finnish mainstream parties joined the European leaders expressing relief after the Dutch elections result, an expert on populism warned against drawing wide conclusion on the future of European populism only on the basis of the election result in the Netherlands.
Laura Parkkinen, a researcher focusing on populism at Turku University, reminded that Holland is a medium-sized European country of 17 million people. “No major truth can be derived from its election result.”
Interviewed by newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Parkkinen said European populism does not function as “domino pieces”. Elections in France and Germany later this year will be a different case, said Parkkinen.
Parkkinen said the worse-than-expected success of populist leader Geert Wilders in the Netherlands does not make much difference to Marine Le Pen’s chances in France. “It was a blow, but in no way a lethal blow,” Parkkinen said.
“In the French election of the president, thoughts are not on Le Pen’s external relations or European trends, but rather on France internally,” the expert explained.
Parkkinen said the results in Dutch elections could have been different if Wilders had campaigned more on the streets. “Mass events belong to the character of populism, but Wilders cancelled appearances for security reasons.”
In the latest Dutch parliamentary election, the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) beat the far-right party PVV led by Wilders by far. Dutch Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte claimed late Wednesday that the country had said “stop” to the wrong kind of populism. Enditem