The parliamentary election in the Netherlands on Wednesday had the interest of journalists and media sources from around the world. The main question on everyone's mind was whether, after the Brexit and after Donald Trump, the populism trend would spread to the European continent. With Mark Rutte and his VVD winning the election, most foreign media sources are focused on Geert Wilders and his PPV's loss.
Forming a new government with the election results as they now stand will be quite a chore, the Dutch newspapers expect on Thursday morning, RTL Nieuws reports.
"What a night it seems to be," Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to begin his election victory speech Wednesday night. "For the third time in a row the VVD is the largest party in the national elections," he added.
"It is also a night wherein the Netherlands, after Brexit, after Trump, has said 'no" to populism," he said. He praised the massive voter turnout of over 81 percent, a stark contrast to the comparatively low turnout in the UK for the Brexit referendum and in the U.S. for the 2016 general election there.
Roughly 81 percent of eligible voters showed up to cast a ballot in Wednesday's Dutch parliamentary election, according to exit polls conducted by Ipsos for broadcasters NOS and RTL. The voter turnout far outpaced the 2012 and 2010 election figures, when about 75 percent arrived at the polls leading to the two Mark Rutte cabinets.
An exit poll sampling voters in the 2017 Netherlands parliamentary election shows the conservative party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte taking 31 seats in the Lower House, down from its current 41 seats. The coalition partner of Rutte's VVD, the Labour party (PvdA), showed a bigger than expected drop, losing 29 of its 38 seats, the Ipsos exit poll showed.
By 3:45 p.m., research firm Ipsos indicated that about 43 percent of the Netherlands had cast their ballots, compared to 37 percent in 2012. Ipsos based their report on sampling data gathered at 43 polling places around the country. Meanwhile, the city of Hoorn, Noord-Holland, reported a 53-percent turnout at 5 p.m., with Utrecht reporting 50 percent just a half-hour earlier.
The parliamentary election in the Netherlands today may well be decided by the undecided voters of yesterday. While the final polls, done on Tuesday, have the VVD in a solid lead, closely followed by the PVV and CDA, two thirds of Dutch voters hadn't yet decided who they will vote for at that time, according to a survey by I&O Research, the Volkskrant reports.
Enschede man Erik van Bommel can't vote today because his dog Nio tore his voting pass into a thousand pieces last night. He reached out to the municipality, only to be told that no new voting ballots will be issued today. So he's out of luck.
Van Bommel is angry at both his dog and the municipality of Enschede. "He never takes anything off the table. And now this. And I was so eager to vote", he said to Tubantia. "But the municipality said that I should've applied for a new voting pass yesterday before noon. Isn't that weird? Shouldn't it be faster?"
Nine year old Rene from Tilburg set his sights high for Valentine's Day. He decided to write a love letter for Princess Ariane, the youngest daughter of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. And he was rewarded with a return letter from the King and Queen themselves, Omroep Brabant reports.
Rene got the idea after Valentine's Day was discussed in the classroom at Helen Parkhurst School in Tilburg. He asked his teacher for help, but initially did not want to tell her who the love letter was intended for. After some prodding, he admitted it was for the princess.
The Amsterdam municipality visited a polling station at a Turkish mosque in the Dutch capital after the mosque was accused of pressuring voters with posters of what is believed to be a religious movement controlled and paid by the Turkish government, RTL Nieuws reports.
Polling stations must be politically neutral, so that voters' decisions aren't influenced. The municipality is having the text on the poster translated to see whether it breaks the rules.
Passengers on a KLM flight from Curacao to the Netherlands today will not be able to cast their vote in the parliamentary election. Their flight to the Netherlands was canceled, and the next flight only departs tomorrow, NOS reports.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Council told NOS that one of the passengers called them to find out if anything can be done. "It's very unfortunate, but we can't do a thing. At 9:00 p.m. tonight the polling stations close and those inside the polling stations can still cast their vote, but those who are too late can't."
The Netherlands will not apologize to Turkey for the actions taken in Rotterdam on Saturday around the arrival of Turkish Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Mark Rutte said to Het Parool on Wednesday. "The actions taken on Saturday were firm and respectful."
Political analysts believe that the diplomatic spat currently ongoing between the Netherlands and Turkey will favor VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Dutch parliamentary election on Wednesday, The Guardian reports.
Dutch-Turks who oppose Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan are worried about reprisals in the Netherlands. This is because Turkish media sources are portraying them as complicit in the diplomatic fallout between Turkey and the Netherlands over the weekend, Trouw reports.
A number of popular Dutch twitter accounts, including that of Amnesty International, Caro Emerald and Donald Duck, were hacked into and hijacked. The hijackers used the accounts to spread Turkish threats and anti-Dutch propaganda, RTL Nieuws reports.
The tweets called the Netherlands and Germany Nazi countries and included a link that takes you to a YouTube video showing a compilation of speeches by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The accompanying text warns not to test Turkey's patience.
Online voting aids Kieskompas and Stemwijzer were the targets of several cyberattacks on Tuesday. The two sites, meant to help Dutch voters make an informed choice, were offline for large parts of the day, ANP reports.
The sites were hit by DDoS attacks, which means that large amounts of information requests are sent at the sites' servers so that they overload and the sites go offline. Kieskompas and ProDemos, the organization behind Stemwijzer, assume that these were coordinated attacks. According to Willem Blanken of Kieskompas, the attacks started at the same time.