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Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 13:56 UK

Dutch far right in poll triumph

Geert Wilders votes (4 June 2009)
Geert Wilders has heavy security because of his anti-Koran message

The party of the right-wing Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, has come second in the country's elections for the European Parliament, partial results indicate.

Mr Wilders, who is facing prosecution over anti-Islamic statements, said his Freedom Party (PVV) would get four of the 25 Dutch seats in the parliament.

With more than 92% of votes counted, the ruling Christian Democrats are top.

Voters are now going to the polls in the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland. The UK voted on Thursday.

Dutch and British voters were the first to go to the polls to elect the EU's most powerful legislative body.

Some 375 million people in 27 member states are eligible to vote. Most will cast their ballots over the weekend.

We dare to talk about sensitive subjects like Islamisation and we use plain and simple words that the voter can understand
Geert Wilders

Partial results released on Friday showed Mr Wilders' PVV was on course to win 16.9% of the votes in the Netherlands. The PVV currently has no seats in the European Parliament.

Mr Wilders was refused entry to the UK in February on the grounds that he had sought to incite hatred with a film he made last year that equated Islam with violence and likened the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf.

EU officials concerned

Voters are deciding who gets the 736 seats up for grabs under various forms of proportional representation.

The European Commission has asked for an explanation from Dutch officials, who broke EU rules by releasing partial results early. Results are not supposed to be announced until polls close across Europe on Sunday night.

In the UK, elections were also held in some areas for local councils.

EU PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS
EU election results
Thursday: UK and Netherlands
Friday: Ireland, Czech Republic
Saturday: Latvia, Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, Italy and Czech Republic
Sunday: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden

Results from 2000 GMT Sunday

The results of both UK polls are keenly awaited to see how they might affect the national political scene, following weeks of turmoil over MPs' expenses claims.

Latvia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia vote on Saturday, while the Czech Republic and Italy vote over Friday and Saturday, and Saturday and Sunday respectively. People in the remaining 18 member states will vote on Sunday.

In Ireland, the vote is seen as a key test ahead of a second referendum on the EU's controversial Lisbon Treaty, expected in October.

The Irish government, stung by the voters' rejection of Lisbon last year, is opposed by Declan Ganley's Libertas. The millionaire entrepreneur, who helped fuel anti-Lisbon sentiment in Ireland, hopes to win one of the 12 Irish seats.

Coalition ally hit

The anti-immigration Dutch Freedom Party MEPs will be headed by Barry Madlener and Mr Wilders will remain an MP in The Hague, Radio Netherlands reports.

The partial results in the Netherlands also showed gains for two staunchly pro-EU parties - the social-liberal D66 and Green Left. Each is on course to send three MEPs to Brussels.

The Christian Democrats' governing coalition partner, the Labour Party (PvdA), was the biggest loser - its share of the Dutch vote fell nearly 10% percentage points to about 14%.

"We dare to talk about sensitive subjects like Islamisation and we use plain and simple words that the voter can understand," Mr Wilders has said in the past.

The controversial politician is facing prosecution in the Netherlands for making anti-Islamic statements, following a court ruling in January.

Polls show that Euroscepticism among Dutch voters has increased since the last European elections, with EU enlargement and integration the most unpopular issues.

Across Europe, far-right parties are hoping to win at least 15 seats. However, the centre-right European People's Party bloc is expected to remain the main force, followed by the European Socialists.


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MEP Seats

  Votes MEPs
Party % +/- % Total +/-
EPP 33.4 -1.4 264 -18
Socialists 23.2 -4.1 183 -26
Liberal 11.0 +1.6 84 +5
Green 7.4 +1.3 50 +9
Left 5.3 -0.6 34 -2
UEN 3.4 +1.6 28 +2
Ind/Dem 2.7 -1.8 21 -15
No Group 13.6 +3.4 72 +3.4
0 of 27 countries declared.

UK Total MEP Seats

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Party Votes MEPs
% +/- % Total +/-
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