Graphic shows seats expected in the 150-seat House of Representatives.


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By Jordi Bou

March 18, 2021 - Mark Rutte is on course to win a historic fourth term as prime minister of the Netherlands, with his centre-right VVD party expected to increase its share of seats in the parliament.

With 88% of votes counted, Rutte’s liberal-conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) was on course for 35 seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament, two more than in the previous 2017 poll, securing him a fourth successive term.

The result was an endorsement of Rutte's handling of the pandemic, even though infection rates remain high and the rollout of vaccination has been slow.

The virus has killed more than 16,000 people in the nation of 17 million.

The big winner, however, was D66, a progressive, socially liberal and pro-European party named after the year it was founded and headed by a former UN diplomat, Sigrid Kaag.

D66 won a record 24 seats, five more than last time, to finish second. It overtook both Rutte’s other main coalition partner, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), which shed four seats to 15, and the far-right, anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders, who lost three MPs and was on course for 17.

The coalition process could go on for some time but Dutch voters are impatient for some form of stability.

PUBLISHED: 18/03/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images