DutchelectionWorld News

Dutch election: Exit polls indicate win for Mark Rutte

image copyrightReuters

image captionMark Rutte casting his vote earlier on Wednesday

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party has won the most seats in parliamentary elections, exit polls suggest.

This will be Mr Rutte’s centre-right VVD party’s fourth term, despite his government resigning in January over a child welfare fraud scandal.

The VVD is projected to win 35 out of 150 seats, while centre-left D66 is predicted to have 27 seats, and far-right PVV is expected to have 17.

The final results are due to be announced at 01:00 (00:00 GMT).

This election is widely seen as a referendum on the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 16,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the Netherlands, and anti-lockdown protests in the country have turned violent.

A night-time curfew is currently in place, as is a ban on public gatherings in the daytime, in order to try and curb the country’s high infection rates.

As a result, most of the election’s campaigns were conducted through television debates.

On election day, people cast their votes in sanitised ballot booths, and those classed as clinically vulnerable were able to vote early.

image copyrightEPA

image captionVoters queued to cast their ballots in the Hague

The Netherlands is governed by a proportional representation (PR) system.

There are 37 parties in the race, and as many as 15 could get into government.

In order to calculate how seats are divided between the parties, the overall number of votes cast is divided by 150 – the number of seats in parliament.

Any party getting more than that number of votes is guaranteed at least one seat in parliament.

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