Dutch polling stations open for parliamentary elections-Xinhua

Dutch polling stations open for parliamentary elections

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-11-22 18:51:00

THE HAGUE, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Netherlands kicked off on Wednesday a nationwide vote to elect a new parliament and a replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

At 7:30 a.m. local time (0630 GMT), all 9,000 polling stations in the Netherlands opened their doors for the 2023 parliamentary elections.

On a dry, fresh election day, with temperatures of 4 to 8 degrees Celsius, the Dutch people got the chance to vote for the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the parliament.

A total of 26 parties joined the race in a fragmented Dutch political landscape. Rutte, who led the past four governments, cast his vote on Wednesday morning in The Hague, for the last time as PM.

The previous elections in March 2021 ended in a landslide victory for the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of Rutte with 34 of the 150 seats.

According to the latest polls conducted by Peilingwijzer and cited by national broadcaster NOS, four parties are in the race to become the largest party.

The rightist VVD with new leader Dilan Yesilgoz is on a predicted 26 to 30 seats, the far-right populist Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders on 25 to 29, the GreenLeft-Labor alliance GroenLinks-PvdA with Frans Timmermans on 23 to 27 and newcomer New Social Contract (NSC), led by Pieter Omtzigt, on a predicted 19 to 23 seats.

Residents aged 18 and older are allowed to vote, which amounts to an estimated 13.3 million eligible voters. The polling stations are open from 7:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) to 9 p.m. local time (2000 GMT), and the first exit poll is expected just after 9 p.m. local time. The first preliminary results will probably follow after midnight.