Prime Minister Rutte wins parliamentary elections | Free press

Right-wing liberal Rutte has reigned for ten years. And now there is a fourth term in office. But who will join the coalition? Parliament in The Hague is fragmented as never before.

The Hague (AP) – The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his right-wing liberal party VVD won the parliamentary elections as expected.

According to the first forecasts that were published in the evening on the NOS TV channel, the VVD will be by far the strongest force in the House of Representatives in The Hague with about 23 percent and 35 seats. Rutte could thus become the head of government of the Netherlands for the fourth time in ten years.

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

The Dutch had cast their vote under strict corona rules. Tents, theaters, churches and even a cemetery have been converted into polling stations to keep their distance. 13 million citizens of the kingdom were called to vote for the 150 MPs in the House of Representatives. A preliminary end result is only expected at night.

Because of the corona pandemic, members of risk groups were able to vote on Monday and Tuesday. In addition, citizens over 70 were allowed to vote by post for the first time.

According to the forecasts, 17 parties have made the leap to parliament – there is no hurdle of 5 percent. In total, three extreme right-wing parties are represented in the new House of Representatives with a total of 27 mandates. This is a clear increase compared to 2017. The left-wing parties, social democrats, socialists and the greens also recorded significant losses. The Christian Democrats also lost easily.

It is still unclear whether Rutte will continue the previous coalition with the CDA, D66 and the small ChristenUnie.

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