Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE) - A populist Eurosceptic party has stunned the political establishment in the Netherlands and sent shockwaves across the European Union after a major election victory. The Forum for Democracy (FvD), which campaigns for a Dutch exit from the EU, won the most votes in elections for the upper house of parliament earlier this week. This has plunged the country and EU leadership into crisis, just as Brussels struggles with more deadlock over Brexit.

The party is on course to win 12 seats in the upper house which will place the FvD as the largest party in the senate along with VVD, the party of the prime minister, Mark Rutte.

The electoral shock comes just a few days after Mr. Rutte mocked British Prime Minister May comparing her Brexit performance to the knight in Monty Python who had all his arms and legs cut off but still went on fighting.

Thierry Baudet, who leads the FvD, which was only launched three years ago, told supporters: “We stand here in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization… We won because the country needs us… We are being destroyed by the people who are supposed to be protecting us.Successive Rutte governments have left our borders wide open, letting in hundreds of thousands of people with cultures completely different to ours. The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power.”

He claimed that the “stupidity and arrogance” of the elites had been punished.Baudet has adopted a Trump-like ‘Dutch First’ anti-immigration policy and has railed against the EU.

In February he said: ““I am ideologically against the EU, against the internal market, against the open borders, against the euro, against the whole thing.”

The shock victory has robbed governing coalition of its majority - forcing it to seek new alliances on the left since the other parties have pledged not to work with the FvD.

Mr. Rutte told reporters: “We are going to have to get to work. More coffees, more phone calls. I’m counting on the country remaining well manageable with this result.”

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