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The Prime Minister of the Netherlands has the authority to win the election for the fourth time in a row

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The Conservative Party of the Netherlands’s Mark Rutte has won its fourth consecutive election victory in a nationwide blockade over the COVID-19 epidemic, with almost complete results on Thursday.

That feat puts Ruther in a position to start negotiations to form the country’s next ruling coalition, most likely with another big winner, the centrist, pro-European D66 party led by former diplomat Sigrid Kaag, who danced at a table on Wednesday night. , that his party is registering one of the biggest victories in the ballot box.

Rutte says voters voted for their party with an “overwhelming vote of confidence, it’s humble.” It forces us to do everything we can to succeed. ”

“The agenda for us is huge,” Ruthen said. “In the coming weeks and months, we have to take the Netherlands through the coronation crisis.”

The steps to form a new coalition were to begin on Thursday afternoon, when the speaker of the lower house of parliament met with party leaders. The fragmented political landscape in the Netherlands, which was predicted to have at least one seat for 16 parties, could complicate coalition talks.

Rutte wants the new government to move forward quickly so that the new government can continue to fight the epidemic that has killed more than 16,000 people in the country of more than 17 million people. Rutte’s victory comes two months after the resignation of his last coalition amid a scandal involving the country’s tax service, which has been misrepresented as a scam by thousands of families demanding child welfare benefits.

His party was expected to win 35 seats, twice as many as in previous elections, in the 150-seat parliament, while the D66 won five seats to increase its bloc to 24, according to forecasts by the new national news agency ANP, based on nearly 80 on%. counting of votes.

The other big winner of the night was the far-right populist democracy forum, which rose to two or eight seats after its lavish leader Thierry Boden launched a nationwide campaign promising to end the coronavirus blockade.

Bode, who was usually hyperactive on social media, did not receive any response and was not present on election night.

Hans Smolders, the newly elected legislator of the Dem Democracy Forum, had a simple explanation. “Thierry Boden was completely exhausted,” he told the Netherlands’ current affairs program Bari Luys on Thursday.

For the party, it was a political resurgence that erupted late last year amid rumors of anti-Semitic text messages among its youth members.

Despite Baudet’s gains, the far-right populist bloc in the Netherlands is unlikely to form a new coalition. Anti-Islam lawmaker Gert Wilders, whose Freedom Party lost three seats and is now the country’s third-largest party, has said he will again lead the opposition in parliament.

The political left also appears to be coming to power after the parties lost seats or failed to win four years later in opposition to Rutte’s oust center-right coalition. The Green Left Party, which won a landslide victory in the 2017 election, was projected to lose half of its 14 seats.

The election, just months after Britain’s Brexit divorce settlement came into force, brought gains among pro-EU parties. The big winner, the D66, has long been a staunch supporter of the 27-nation bloc, and among the new parties in the lower house of parliament was the openly pro-European Volt party, which was expected to win three seats.

Former diplomat Kaag, who served as Route’s last foreign and development cooperation minister in Rutte’s last coalition, has touted Rutte as a viable alternative as a national leader in a country that has never had a female prime minister.

“I have always believed that it was confirmed tonight that people in the Netherlands are not extreme but moderate in their positive attitude,” he said after his party tweeted a photo of Kaag standing. on the table, rejoicing in the great achievements of his party. ,

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