Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party is to remain as the largest party in the Dutch parliament, if preliminary results hold.
Although his support fell from the 2012 elections, the divided opposition means he still has the best chance at forging a coalition deal and forming government. The division also means a 4-party coalition is the smallest number that could possibly form a majority in the parliament. With former coalition partner the Labour party expected to fall to one of its worst showings in history, with only 9 seats, Rutte is likely to turn to the Christian Democratic Party, the liberal D66 party, and the Green Party.
Such negotiations will likely take months before they are finalized.
The far-right PVV party of Geert Wilders, who was expected to make large gains in today’s elections, saw an increase of support that would bring its expected seat count to 19, an increase of 4 seats. It is not, however, enough for them to become the largest party, with the VVD holding 31 seats, or to form government, as no large party is willing to collaborate with them.
Addressing his supporters on Twitter, Wilders celebrated the increase in seats, saying that “Rutte has not seen the last of [him].”
A better estimate of votes is likely to come around 00:00 local time.