Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

Europe watches on as Dutch voters go to the polls

Europe watches on as Dutch voters go to the polls

About 12.9 million people in the Netherlands are eligible to cast their ballot, with voting booths open until 9pm local time (4am today, Singapore time), when an exit poll is to be released.

Turnout during the last election, when there were 21 parties running, was 74.6 percent of registered voters (which is nearly all citizens of voting age in the Netherlands).

The Euro was also stable against the British Pound and the Japanese Yen, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year Dutch government bond was flat at 0.501%, just 8.6 basis points more than the yield on the equivalent German issue.

Amid unprecedented worldwide attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe.

Some of Wilder's supporters told RT ahead of the election that the Party for Freedom is shaping the new political agenda for the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, a Liss panel poll showed VVD likely to lead in the upcoming election with a 16 percent approval rating and PVV tailing it with 13.6 percent of projected votes. The municipalities expect a bigger turnout than 2012 for Wednesday's elections.

The last opinion polls before Wednesday's vote began suggested a close contest between the center-right party of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the far-right Party for Freedom led by the rabidly Islamophobic Geert Wilders.

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Hence, the other smaller parties will be seen as potential power-brokers.

The VVD is the party of the ruling Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "This has won Rutte the election".

Rutte, who had 40 seats in the outgoing parliament, has vowed never to work with Wilders again, turned off by his incendiary message, and after the PVV caused an earlier coalition to collapse in 2010.

In 2012 the situation was different with a classic battle between the right, the VVD, and the left, the PvdA, arising in the final campaign weeks, with the VVD becoming the largest with 41 seats and the PvdA finishing second with 38 seats. The Greens, Labor and Socialists have expressed an interest in a five-party coalition that excludes Rutte, but the Christian Democrats and liberal Democrats should be reluctant.

It is not clear who will benefit from row this weekend between the Netherlands and Turkey over Two Turkish ministers being barred from addressing rallies in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

Voters are due to go to the polls across the Netherlands in a closely watched general election.

"And Rutte has not seen the last of me yet!" In the meantime, voting in the Dutch elections ends at 2000 GMT Wednesday and exit polls will be released to the media soon after. The Dutch Electoral Council will determine the official results of the election for the House of Representatives on March 21, 2017.

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