Dutch PM Rutte’s Conservative Party Wins Fourth Straight Election
Rutte reportedly will lead coalition talks with former diplomat Sigrid Kaag’s D-66, another big winner of the polls.
A day after Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative party secured the fourth consecutive victory in a vote held during a nationwide lockdown, the process of forming a new Dutch governing coalition began on Thursday, 18 March, reported AP.
The centrist, pro-European D66 party, led by former diplomat Sigrid Kaag, emerged as another big winner. Rutte reportedly will lead coalition talks with D-66. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Rutte for his big win in the parliamentary elections.
Both the parties will likely need at least two more partners to form a majority coalition. According to the national news agency ANP, based on 88 percent of votes counted, Rutte’s party, also known by its Dutch acronym VVD, won 35 of the 150 seats in the lower house of the Parliament while D66 won 24 seats.
Before getting into a government blueprint for the new coalition's four-year term, Rutte wants to form a COVID-19 recovery plan.
“We must have plans in place to unlock the country,” Rutte told his lawmakers in a virtual meeting, according to AP.
The first step of appointing two ‘scouts’, one from Rutte’s VVD and a second from D66 was taken by the party leaders on Thursday. This was primarily done to examine different parties’ wish lists and examine possible coalitions ahead of formal talks.
In 2017, after winning the elections by a landslide, Rutte's VVD formed a coalition government with the CDA, the D66 and the Christian Union (CU).
After the child benefits scandal, the government stepped down on 15 January 2021. The final exit poll showed that the same coalition government would be possible again, even without the CU.
Elections were spread over three days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 37 parties and more than 1,500 candidates took part in the polls for the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.
Around 1,600 of the total of 9,200 polling stations were opened on Monday and Tuesday so that the elderly and the vulnerable could vote. With a population of a little over 17 million, the country has an electorate of around 13.2 million.
(With inputs from AP and IANS)
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