Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader, has won the early elections with a sweeping victory for pro-European parties in a country that is considered a core member of the Eurozone family.
Reuters reports that proponents of austerity measures and fiscal discipline in the indebted southern European countries managed to increase their share of the 150-seat Dutch chamber, with Liberals winning 41 seats and Diederik Samsom’s Labour Party winning 39.
A coalition between the two centrist parties will result in a governing majority in parliament.
Reuters quoted Rutte saying: “We fought this election house by house, street by street, city by city, and I’m proud. Tomorrow I will take the first steps leading to the formation of a cabinet.”
The Socialist Party, which was against the austerity measures and eurozone bailouts, only managed to win 15 seats, and Geert Wilders’ extreme right Freedom Party (PVV) lost some of its 24 seats, reduced to just 15 in the new chamber.
Labour leader Samsom announced last night that his party is prepared to participate in the new government, adding that the Netherlands needs unity rather than dissent.
Although a supporter of fiscal austerity, Samsom has called for a slower rate of cuts in order to encourage more fiscal stimulus, pointing to the Netherlands’ slower rate of economic growth compared to neighbouring Germany.
Reuters quoted Samsom as he answered a question about the possibility of a coalition with the Liberals, saying: “Nobody knows exactly what will happen tomorrow, but one thing is certain. The course can be changed. The course must be changed because the right-wing policies of the past two years cannot continue.”