The party of outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) was voted the most in the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands on Wednesday, according to a poll.
Published immediately after the polls in the Netherlands were completed, the IPSOS poll for NOS television Ruttes Party gives 35 out of 150 seats in the lower house of parliament.
The 54-year-old Rutte has been in power for more than a decade, has led three different coalitions and could become the longest-serving Dutch head of government if he can negotiate a new party platform.
There are currently 13 parties with parliamentary representation and two or three new parties are expected to enter an election that further polarizes parliament, with 37 formations of different ideologies competing against each other.
Polls during the election campaign showed that Rutte’s party won by a comfortable margin, followed by far-right politician Geert Wilder, Christian Democrat or Progressive, in the race for second place.
The election will take place roughly two months after Mark Rutte presented the king to the king last January that his entire government should resign after 26,000 candidates with “foreign” surnames were confronted with denial of family allowances.
The vast majority of registered voters could only go to polling stations this Wednesday, as the vote to elect the new parliament from which the future executive will emerge began two days ago and then reserved only for the sick and the elderly inside was the scope of measures to prevent infection from Covid-19 disease.
By the middle of election day 49% had already voted, and this figure includes all those who voted on Monday and Tuesday, as well as those who exercised their right to vote by post in the past few weeks.
According to IPSOS, the voting error rate at the end of the polls is higher in these elections due to changes in the vote, making differences of two seats per party more likely and differences of more than two seats possible. The vote count is expected to resume on the night of curfew in the country of more than 17 million people.
After riding a bike to a school in The Hague, where he exercised the right to vote, Mark Rutte admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic will be at the center of voters’ choice.
“The main question in these elections is who will be the best person to lead this country out of the corona crisis and then make a fresh start possible.”
His rival Geert Wilders criticized the Rutte government’s management of the pandemic, accusing him of betraying the Netherlands.
“I’m not blaming the government for the virus, but for not being adequately prepared to deal with it. But above all to sell our country, our values, our culture and to give away our money. And I think the Dutch should come first, ”he said.
The Dutch government announced this month the extension of detention in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic until March 30th, which sees the beginning of the end of restrictions at Easter and normalization in the summer.
Restrictions include curfew between 9:00 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. local time. The recommendation to avoid foreign travel will be maintained until mid-April. The current detention has lasted since mid-December and the hotel sector has been closed since October.