After spending three days with schools open to facilitate voting in the midst of a pandemic, the Netherlands successfully completed a crucial election on Wednesday. The appointment, followed with special attention in the EU for being one of the main tests to measure the response of a government to the health crisis, ended with a new goal in favor of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The liberal politician, was emerging last night as the great winner. The exit polls gave him 35 seats out of 150 in the Chamber of Deputies, while the center-left party D66, which is part of the government coalition, would reach 27, followed by the 17 seats of the PVV of the anti-Islamist deputy Geert Wilders, excluded of negotiations.
Rutte’s triumph, taken for granted for days, will allow him to win a fourth term. The Dutch head of government is now the third longest-serving European leader in power, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. However, this time, experts point out that the desire for stability in a country where the coronavirus has taken center stage and has diverted attention from issues such as immigration, which dominated the previous election date, has weighed more for his victory. “He benefits not only from being prime minister but he has the ‘crown’ advantage, as he was the spokesperson during the pandemic,” said André Krouwel, Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam.
- The precedent of 2017.
The president must choose government partners in what is expected to be long negotiations
Local media reported this Wednesday that, despite the restrictions, the elections registered a high level of participation, 74%, one point more than in 2017. In total, there were thirteen million people who were called to vote in a fragmented political landscape, made up of 37 formations, a record number in decades.
“I am proud of what we have achieved in the last 10 years in the Netherlands,” congratulated Rutte, for whom the main question of these elections was “who can best lead this country through the coronavirus crisis and then give it a new start from summer (boreal) ‘. Even so, the restrictions imposed, in particular the curfew, have caused deep discontent that was evident on Sunday in protests that resulted in 20 detainees in The Hague and another three in Amsterdam.
With the triumph of Rutte’s Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the question lies in which formations will make up the new government coalition. The D66 and the conservative Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), both members of the current alliance, are favorites for a reissue, although the environmentalists GroenLinks would also stand out as an option. Be that as it may, the negotiations are expected to be prolonged in time, as it already happened in 2017, which lasted seven months.
Wilders, who until now was the second force in Parliament, would become the third if the results are confirmed. His campaign was focused on denouncing that the Dutch Executive “was very poorly prepared” to face the pandemic.
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