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Dutch election results at a glance

Right-wing blonde bombshell Geert Wilders was trounced. But he wasn't the only one. 

Before the Dutch elections, all eyes were on the latest - some would say original - right-wing populist blonde bombshell, Geert Wilders of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV). Wilders' party's manifesto promised "de-Islamisation of the Netherlands", including ending all immigration from Muslim countries and closing down mosques. A Eurosceptic, he was also a fan of Nexit. 

The expectation that Wilders would win big was anticipated as much by the far-right as it was feared by the left. Britain's mini-Wilders, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, popped up on the eve of the Dutch election count to proclaim that "through the Dutch elections, the French elections etc, you will see a continuance of this revolution against global governance".

But in the end, Dutch voters chose a different narrative. At time of writing, the centre-right VVD party prevailed, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte looking forward to a third successive term. "The Netherlands said 'Whoa!'" he declared.

For those on the alternative left, however, the biggest nugget of election gold however may be the fact the Green-Left party sprang up to third place, with an increase of 10 seats.

Pessimists, though, may sense that below the veneer of respectability, the threat of right-wing populism has not gone away. The mainstream left was the biggest loser of the night, going from a major mainstream party to a bit-part player in a single night. 

So what happens next? Here is what you need to know:

Mainstream politicians are celebrating across Europe

The election results will allow mainstream parties to form a governing coalition, and block out the PVV. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was extremely happy, tweeting "Netherlands, oh the Netherlands, you are a champion!" Martin Schulz, Merkel's centre-left rival, also tweeted his celebrations. 

It's a win for the alternative, not mainstream left

The Dutch Labour party, which had been the junior party in the ruling coalition, had a catastrophic night, losing 29 seats. It now has less than the Green-Left party. Although this party's surge took place in an electoral system very different from Westminster, the UK Greens are celebrating. Co-leader Jonathan Bartley tweeted that it was "really great news proving freedom, a positive and hopeful vision can win votes". 

Geert Wilders is still very much around

The PVV might not have overturned the establishment, but it still came second, with 20 seats - a gain of five. Wilders is a veteran of Dutch politics, and is unlikely to take this as a cue to shuffle off stage. Indeed, as the election results became clear, he tweeted to his 808,000 followers: "We were the third largest party of the Netherlands. Now we are the second largest party. Next time we will be number one!"

Turkey is not impressed

The run up to the Dutch elections has been overshadowed by an increasingly loud spat between Turkey and the Netherlands, over rallies in favour of Turkey's authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. According to AFP, the Turkish government's reaction to the nail-biting contest between a mainstream politician and the man who would persecute Dutch Turks is "there is no difference". 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

Credit: Getty
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Something is missing from the UK’s draft transition agreement with the EU

The talks could go to extra time.

The European Union has published its draft transition agreement with the United Kingdom, setting out the terms of the standstill period after March 2019, when the UK will have formally left the EU, but its new relationship with the bloc has not yet been negotiated.

There is a lot in there, and the particularly politically-difficult part as far as the government is concerned is fishing: under the agreement, the United Kingdom will remain subject to the Common Fisheries Policy during the period of transition, and two Scottish Conservative MPs, both of whom have large fishing communitiesin their seats, are threatening to vote against the deal as it stands.

But the more interesting part is what isn’t in there: any mechanism to extend the transition should the United Kingdom and the EU be unable to agree a new relationship by 2020. This is something that people on both sides believe is likely to be needed – but as it stands, there is no provision to do so.

The political problem for Theresa May is that some pro-Brexit MPs fear that transition will never end (which is why she persists in calling it an “implementation period” in public, despite the fact it is as clear as day that there will be nothing to be implemented, as the future relationship will only have been agreed in broad outline). So finding the right moment to include the ability to make transition open-ended is tricky.

The danger for the government (and everyone else) is that the moment never arrives, and that the United Kingdom either ends up making a agreement in haste, or not at all, in 2020.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.