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Election in the Netherlands: Rutte before fourth term

Status: 17.03.2021 9:46 p.m.

According to initial forecasts, the ruling party VVD won the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands as expected. Prime Minister Rutte is likely to face another term of office.

According to forecasts, the right-wing liberal party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte is ahead in the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. As the public TV broadcaster NOS reports, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is by far the strongest force in the second chamber of parliament with around 23 percent and 35 seats.

After ten years of government responsibility, Rutte, who is now only managing director, should once again be faced with the task of forming a coalition. He could become the longest-serving head of government in the country’s history.

The big surprise of the election, however, is the left-wing liberal D66, which, according to the forecasts with top candidate Sigrid Kaag, comes in second with 27 seats. Four years ago, D66, which previously also belonged to the coalition, still got 19 of the 150 seats. The party pushes right-wing populist Geert Wilders from second place. He posted losses and became the third strongest force.

Markus Preiß, ARD Den Haag, on the outcome of the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands

night magazine 00:05, March 18, 2021

Shifts possible

The 54-year-old Rutte has been Prime Minister since 2010. His government announced in January that it was stepping down over a scandal over wrongly reclaimed child benefits.

The election took place over three days in order to avoid large accumulations in the coronavirus pandemic. Tents, theaters, churches and even a cemetery have been turned into polling stations to allow for a distance. A preliminary final result is expected in the night.

Three extreme right-wing parties in parliament

According to the forecasts, 17 parties made it into parliament – there is no five percent hurdle. In total, three extreme right-wing parties will be represented in the new Second Chamber with a total of 27 mandates. That is a clear increase compared to 2017. The left parties, Social Democrats, Socialists and the Greens recorded significant losses. The Christian Democrats also lost easily. It is still unclear whether Rutte will continue the previous coalition with the Christian Democratic CDA, D66 and the small ChristenUnie.

The opinion research institute Ipsos announced that the forecast this time had a greater range of fluctuation due to the corona pandemic and the resulting increased postal voting. It could be that the results will be postponed by two more mandates, it said.

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