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Europe’s far right basks in glow of Trump’s victory

Right-wing politicians from UK's Nigel Farage to France's Marine Le Pen and Hungary's Victor Orban congratulate Trump
Geert Wilders, leader of Dutch Party for Freedom, at Republican National Convention in July. He congratulated Trump on his victory (AFP)

Europe’s ascendant far-right political parties celebrated Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election on Wednesday.

Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party, who was prominent in the Brexit campaign and frequently travelled to America over the course of the US election to campaign for Trump, said his victory was more important than Brexit.

Farage, who formed a strong friendship with the president-elect over the course of the campaign, said Trump had shaken the political establishment.

Across the English channel, French far-right presidential candidate Marine le Pen of the National Front also sent her congratulations.

Translation: “Congratulations to the new president of the United States Donald Trump and to the american people, free ! MLP”

Fellow Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom was similarly excited.

Frauke Petry, the leader of Germany’s anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), also took to Twitter to express her glee.

Translation: Congratulations to the future president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

She hailed Trump’s election as a historic opportunity.

Translation: The Americans have opted for the political fresh start and against corruption - this opportunity is historic.

In neighbouring Austria, Norbert Hofer, presidential candidate and chairman of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, used Trump’s victory to blast the “political left” and “corrupt establishment” on Facebook.

“Congratulations to the newly elected president of the United States of America, Donald J Trump!” he said.

“The political left and the out of touch and corrupt establishment is increasingly being punished by the electorate and voted out of many decision-making positions. And that's a good thing, since all power lies with the people.

“The Austrian mainstream media and journalists, who have been constantly campaigning against Trump since weeks and have already declared H. Clinton the winner, have been made looking like fools once again by the electorate."

In Denmark, whose politics has been defined by a hard-line stance on the refugee crisis in recent years, the far-right Danish People’s Party (DPP) also congratulated Trump – though somewhat more reservedly.

Their spokesman Soren Espersen said on Twitter: “Congratulations to the United States with the presidential election – and with the country's democracy. From here, good luck to Donald Trump.”

Despite their own hard-line stance against immigration, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States had proved too much even for the DPP.

“It is just stupid. He says the most crazy things, but this must be one of the craziest things he's ever come out with,” Espersen, a hardliner himself within the DPP, told Danish daily Jyllands-Posten at the time.

According to TheLocal.dk website, Espersen, who is the chairman of the Danish parliament's foreign policy committee, went so far as to say that Denmark should “review” its relationship with the US if Trump wins. 

“At the moment, we almost blindly follow the US and are always prepared to support them. It is not certain that would continue were Trump to be elected. I think the USA would wake up with a bad hangover the day after his election.”

Trump’s popularity in right-wing circles right across the continent was reflected among politicians in eastern Europe.

In Poland, President Andrzej Duda – currently an independent, but who hails from the conservative Law and Justice Party – expressed his personal congratulations over Twitter.

Hard-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has dominated headlines across Europe for his vehement anti-immigrant stance during the refugee crisis, welcomed Trump’s election on his Facebook page.