The Dutch electorate has reconfirmed its commitment to the EU by giving a resounding victory to the two pro-European parties.
Leader of the centre-right, liberal VVD Party and current prime minister, Mark Rutte bounced back after the collapse of his previous coalition government.
His party won 41 of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament’s lower house.
“Congratulations, the VVD has never been bigger in history as it is tonight,” Rutte told a gathering of supporters.
So far, Rutte has not said who will join him in the next government, but he will most probably have to form a coalition with Diederik Samsom’s Labour Party, who after fighting a campaign labelled ‘too close to call’ came away with 39 seats – just two less than the VVD Party.
Samsom expressed a wish to work together and said: “The Netherlands needs a strong and stable government as soon as possible, and the Labour Party will cooperate on this cause from tonight on, and that will be mirrored in creating a new cabinet.”
The big losers of the night were Geert Wilders and his far-right, eurosceptic Freedom Party.
After triggering the collapse of the previous government, Wilders saw his party lose nine seats – taking them from 24 to 15 – the same number as the left-wing Socialists.
Official coalition talks will not begin until after the new parliament is seated next week.