A new federal coalition is expected to be led by Mark Rutte because of his conservative party’s projected gains in seats. Exit polls for the Dutch parliamentary elections show the Dutch prime minister’s conservative party won the most seats, putting him in a solid position to form a new ruling coalition.
The 54-year-old Dutch prime minister has been in office for more than a decade, leading three coalitions, and could become the country’s longest-serving leader if he can secure coalition partners.
NOS broadcaster has forecasted that Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has already gotten 35 seats from only 23 percent of the vote. Therefore, the party will be the strongest force in the House of Representatives.
The poll has also shown that Rutte’s last coalition party – the D66 party, has captured 27 seats, and in the previous election, they only got 19 seats. The D66 has become the second-largest party in the Netherlands.
Before the polls closed at 20:00 GMT, Ipsos had said that the margins of error were higher because of uncertainty caused by voting at a time when the nation is still under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ipsos released a statement that there is the possibility of a two-seat difference per party happening quite frequently, and a figure more than that cannot be ruled out. Therefore, the race is still on.
Rutte’s initial poll numbers show he needs to form a coalition with two other parties to receive 76 seats in parliament.
According to projections, the Freedom Party, led by anti-immigration firebrand Geert Wilders, would lose three seats to 17 seats than the last elections in 2017. Christians Democrats dropped five seats in the Coalition, and Labour stayed flat.
The poll shows that Forum for Democracy, a party on the far right of Dutch politics, gained six seats to reach eight in the ongoing Dutch elections. Thierry Baudet, the party’s leader, held rallies across the country, making him one of the only politicians to do so.
It is widely observed that the election was to be used as a referendum on the government’s performance during the coronavirus crisis.
This is the first major European Union economy to conduct elections during the COVID-19 crisis, and voting was conducted over a 3-day period to prevent the spread of the disease, which has already claimed over 16,000 lives in the nation of 17 million.
The campaign was mainly televised considering the night-time curfew due to high infection rates. At the same time, the daytime ban on public gatherings prevented any face-to-face meetings during the day.
After the afternoon session, turnout was 81 percent, compared with 82 percent four years ago. During the primary election, mail-in ballots were allowed for people over the age of 70 (elderly voters), and polling stations opened two days before election day to allow for social distancing.
Municipalities expect to count votes until the wee hours of the morning. The elections were contested by dozens of parties with nearly 13 million voters to choose from. More than 37 political parties were running, the highest number of parties contesting since World War II.
Rachel Lott is a Reporter for Chroniclex After graduating from Cuyahoga Community College, Rachel got an internship at USA Evening and worked as a Reporter and Producer. Rachel has also worked as a Reporter for WKYC TV and Fox News Channel. Rachel Covers International Developments.