Dutch voters head to polls as divisive elections kick off in Netherlands

In September, right-wing eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany, which has attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policy, is likely to win its first lower house seats.

His prominent far-right challenge means the election will be closely watched internationally, not least in France, given that his ally Le Pen is looking for inspiration to pull off an upset victory herself in that country's presidential race.

The Dutch politician previous year also showed his support for the American Republican businessman in the 2016 US Presidential elections and adopted the slogan "Make the Netherlands Great Again".

Despite Rutte and Wilders leading opinion polls, the 150 seat parliament is set to be divided among numerous parties, with a centre-right coalition seen as the most likely outcome.

Wilders, who was convicted past year of incitement to discrimination, advocates an array of controversial positions including "de-Islamising Europe" that have ostracised him from mainstream politicians in the country.

Amid unprecedented worldwide attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe.

The party has said it will "de-Islamize the Netherlands", stop the immigration of people from predominantly Muslim countries and work to have the Netherlands leave the European Union.

"All those people that were standing on the square with Turkish flags and showing that they are not Dutch, but Turkish", Wilders, of the Dutch Freedom Party, said during the debate.Wilders argued the political row highlighted a much a "much bigger problem" with Dutch Turks failing to integrate into society and called Rutte a "prime minister for foreigners".

His Party for Freedom (PVV) has lost support in recent weeks after narrowly topping the polls in December, partly in response to Prime Minister Mark Rutte's call on those not accepting Dutch values to 'behave yourselves or go away'.

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Some polls suggest his Freedom party could take the most seats in the Dutch parliament, though other parties have already ruled out forming a coalition with Wilders. Most analysts still expect the Liberals to win the most seats, barely, and form a coalition with likely four other parties.

Regardless of the results, coalition building takes time and assuming the PVV takes over 20 seats, it could take five or more parties to form a government. The choice, Rutte says, is simple: Chaos or continuity.

Ankara's move comes amid a growing dispute with the Netherlands and Germany over their refusal to allow Turkish government ministers to stage political rallies on their territory and could fuel the populist backlash that has buffeted anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe.

But Rutte responded: "You want Nexit, you want the Netherlands out of Europe".

In both the Brexit referendum and the United States election, undecided voters overwhelmingly chose the anti-establishment option.

For his part, Prime Minister Rutte has urged the Dutch to take the election seriously and be cautious about registering a protest vote.

He has boosted his party in the polls, and may win 16 to 18 seats, which could place him in a powerful kingmaker role.

Elections in the country are seen as a test of anti-immigrant sentiment in the country.

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