13 Sep 2012

Europe seen as winner in Netherlands vote

10:14 am on 13 September 2012

Dutch voters rejected anti-EU parties in favour of pro-European pragmatism in a general election on Wednesday. Parties committed to austerity measures came first and second.

Exit polls suggest the ruling Liberals picked up one more seat than Labour.

If confirmed, the result would mean that Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy would be called upon to form a new coalition.

Exit polls indicate Mr Rutte's party would win 41 of the 150 seats in the new parliament, Labour 40 seats and the Socialist Party 15.

The PVV party of Geert Wilders was tipped to win 13 seats. Its previous tally was 24.

Final results will be issued by the Electoral Commission on Thursday, but it will take weeks if not months for a new coalition to be formed.