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Dutch PM Rutte's VVD emerges top in first exit poll

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Thursday March 16, 2017 - 04:57:51 in Articles by Super Admin
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    Dutch PM Rutte's VVD emerges top in first exit poll

    Dutch PM Rutte has claimed victory in elections in the Netherlands that saw his party beat out far-right challenger Wilders. Some see the Dutch poll as a litmus test for populists ahead of French and German elections.

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Dutch PM Rutte has claimed victory in elections in the Netherlands that saw his party beat out far-right challenger Wilders. Some see the Dutch poll as a litmus test for populists ahead of French and German elections.

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the Dutch election, with the latest news, views and reactions to the divisive race.

  • Prime Minister Mark Rutte's center-right VVD party has fended off populist leader Geert Wilders in parliamentary elections that have garnered international attention.
  • Voting closed at 9pm local time on Wednesday (2000 UTC/GMT). With 10 percent of the vote counted just after midnight on Thursday, Rutte has clearly won the largest share of seats. The VVD are predicted to gain 32 seats, followed by the Christian Democrats (CDA) with an expected 21 seats. Landing in third, Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) will likely take 20 seats while the Green-Left significantly boosted their representation with 15 seats captured. D66 took 17 seats while the social democrat Labor Party (PvdA) suffered a massive loss of 29 seats, leaving them with only nine. Various other smaller parties also captured single-digit seats. 
  • Six main parties will enter parliament: the ruling VVD, Wilder's PVV, the centrist D66, Green-Left, the Socialist Party and the PvdA.
  • In a diplomatic spat Turkey has accused Netherlands of Nazi practices and of being responsible for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, reportedly playing into the popularity of VVD.

Read: What you need to know about the Dutch elections

All updates in Central European Time (CET)

02:35 Geert Wilders has congratulated Mark Rutte on the VVD's election victory. 

"Congratulations to Prime Minister Rutte," Wilders told reporters in the Hague. The leader of the PVV said he would be ready to work with the new government, if invited to do so. However, other Dutch parties have promised not to cooperate with the PVV.

Though the PVV landed a distant third, the populist party picked up seats in comparison to the last elections in 2012. The PVV also won the largest share of votes in Maastricht as well as in Wilders' hometown of Venlo

01:11 Here are the preliminary results:

00:47 As of the first hours of Thursday morning, the national news agency ANP has completed 10.3 percent of an unofficial partial vote count. Rutte's VVD is projected to take 32 seats total while Wilders' PVV will pick up 20, a fair bit shy of the 30 plus seats some analysts expected the far-right politician to gain. D66 and the Green-Left are expected to earn 17 and 15 seats respectively, while the PvdA is predicted to drop into the single digits with nine seats.