Netherlands: People's Party for Freedom and Democracy of PM Mark Rutte wins most seats beating anti-immigration Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders
Primer on parliamentary elections in Netherlands:
(March 15, 2017)
Snap parliamentary elections were scheduled to be on March 15, 2017. At stake would be the 150 seats of the "Tweede Kamer" or Second Chamber. There, members are popularly elected via proportional representation to four-year terms.
Typically, after elections to the "Tweede Kamer," the leader of the majority party, or leader of the majority coalition, is usually appointed prime minister by the queen. The government (prime minister and cabinet) must maintain the support of a majority of the Second Chamber to remain in office.
The previous elections were held in 2012 and resulted in then-incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) managing to stay in power by forming a coalition with the Labour Party (PvdA), which also saw strong performance at the polls. A lack of support in the Senate has meant that this government has often been dependent on the support of the Democrats 66 (D66), ChristianUnion (CU), and Reformed Political Party (SGP).
In 2017, the main issues would be anti-immigrant and nationalist sentiment, as well as an emerging diplomatic imbroglio with Turkey. As such, the main battle was believed to be between Rutte's center-right VVD and the Party for Freedom (PVV) of anti-Islam xenophobe, Geert Wilders, who promised to "de-Islamicize" the Netherlands.
Polling data indicated Rutte and the VVd in a tight race with Wilders and the VVD. No one party was expected to secure an outright majority so the next government would be formed as a result of a stable coalition.
Note: At the time of writing, exit poll data indicated that Rutte (VVD) was on its way to routing Wilders (PVV) by securing an expected 31 seats. Wilders (PVV), Democrats 66 (D66/liberals), and Christian Democrats (CDA) would likely garner 19 seats respectively. Labour (PvDA) was set to see its worst performance since 2002, losing between 25 and 30 seats and settling at about 9 or 10 seats. The Green Left(GL) would likely be the big winner -- increasing its presence in parliament by 12 seats.