Dutch General Election Results: Prime Minister Rutte Wins, Wilders' Freedom Party Slides

Summary of the latest developments, courtesy of Bloomberg:

  • Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Liberals are the evening's big winners: they're set to take 31 of parliament's 150 seats
  • That's a blow to the populist Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, which fared less well than projections, putting the party in a fight for second place
  • Rutte's coalition partner Labor, which suffered a historic drop, is off to "lick its wounds", says party leader Lodewijk Asscher, after a drubbing
  • There's a battle for second place among the Freedom Party, the Christian Democrats and D66
  • The euro rose to a one-month high, as traders are seeing political risk in Europe receding after Wilders's poor showing
  • What's next? Now we await for the actual results, which as Bloomberg adds, will be done by hand to avoid any chance of hacking.

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Update: 5:45pm: More relieved establishment Europeans chime in.

  • Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, who tweeted "No Nexit. The anti-EU party lost the election in Netherlands. Let's work together for changing and relaunching EU", while
  • Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon was brief in her response to the exit polls. Reacting to a post from The Scotsman on Twitter showing Wilders's defeat, Sturgeon had only one word to say: "Good."
  • Luxembourg's prime minister, Xavier Bettel, was among first to tweet congratulations: "#populism didn't pay off. Congrats to my liberal @ALDEParty friends @MinPres for staying strongest party & @APechtold for the good resultsXB"
  • Martin Schulz, the resurgent new leaders of the German Social Democrats was quick to rub salt in Wilders' loss: "Wilders couldn't have won the Dutch vote. I'm relieved, but we must continue to fight for a open and free Europe.""
  • Naturally, Jean Claude Juncker was also there to take delight in Rutte's failure:".@JunckerEU just spoke with @markrutte, congratulated him on clear victory: "A vote for Europe, a vote against extremists". #DutchElections"

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Update 4:45pm. According to Bloomberg, citing Pollster Maurice de Hond, one possible coalition of "most likely" parties includes: Liberals, D66, Christian Democrats and Christian Union. Nonetheless, Bloomberg also notes that while the Dutch may be first of the big three planned elections this year, but that doesn't mean they'll be first to have a government.

"Dutch coalitions are infamous for the length of time they take to form. The average has taken 72 days since World War II. The longest was 208 days -- a span that would take us past the German vote in September."

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In a setback for Dutch firebrand Geert Wilders, and perhaps the entire European populist movement, the first Dutch exit polls from today's general election which resulted in a record 82% turnout, are out and his PVV, or Freedom Party, has only won 19 seats, tied with the Christian Democrats and Democrats 66 party, both of which also got 19 seats; the outcome is in line with polls that were predicting a sharp drop off in support for Wilders in recent days. The result will likely be a disappointment for Wilder whose Freedom Party took 24 seats in 2010. As for the winner: prime minister Mark Rutte's VVD, or Liberal Party, with 31 seats.

As Bloomberg puts it, Rutte's major victory is the result of "voters responding to Rutte’s plea to send a signal on halting the spread of populism." However it also warns that amid high turnout, Dutch TV is now warning that some voting booths are still open, meaning we have a long night ahead of us. That also means the next exit poll might not be as "definitive" as it could have been.

Another note: the biggest loser is the Labor Party of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, which isis headed for its worst result ever at just nine seats, compared to at least 23 in its previous worst showings. According to Dutch TV, this is the biggest slump in the vote for any party in Dutch election history, and reminiscent of what happened to the Liberal Democrats in Britain in 2015 according to Bloomberg.

The result, at least sarcastically, is that the Eurogroup may need a new leaders soon:

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Geert Wilders promptly took to Twitter, thanking his voters and warning Rutte that he "is not rid of me yet"

While we await more definitive results, here are the exit poll results in context, and how they compare to the 2012 election, according to IPSOS.

The seat projection based on the IPSOS exit poll reveals that four parties will be necessary for forming a government:

The full  breakdown of the 13 parties that will comprise the new parliament:

  • VVD (Liberal Party, Prime Minister Mark Rutte) recieves 31 seats, compares with 41 seats in 2012 elections
  • PvdA (Labor Party, Lodewijk Asscher) recieves 9 seats, Labor took 38 seats in 2012 elections. The party is current government partner with Liberal Party
  • PVV (Freedom Party, Geert Wilders) recieves 19 seats, Compares with 15 seats in 2012 elections
  • SP (Socialist Party, Emile Roemer) recieves 14 seats, Compares with 15 seats in 2012 elections
  • CDA (Christian Democrats, Sybrand Buma) recieves 19 seats, Compares with 13 seats in 2012 elections
  • D66 (Democrats 66, Alexander Pechtold) recieves 19 seats, Compares with 12 seats in 2012 elections
  • CU (Christian Union, Gert-Jan Segers) recieves 6 seats, Compares with 5 seats in 2012 elections
  • GL (Green Party, Jesse Klaver) recieves 16 seats, Compares with 4 seats in 2012 elections
  • SGP (Reformed Party, Kees van der Staaij) recieves 3 seats
  • PvdD (Party for the Animals, Marianne Thieme) recieves 5 seats
  • 50+ (50 Plus Party, Henk Krol) recieves 4 seats
  • Denk recieves 3 seats
  • Forum for Democracy gets 2 seats

According to the results, at least four parties will be required to make a majority in parliament, although it is now certain that, as expected, Wilders will now have no voice in whatever final coalition is formed.

In comments following the exit poll, Deutsche Bank FX analyst Sebastien Galy writes that with the Freedom Party’s tally seen by the Dutch exit poll on the low side, this will be seen as reducing the risk premium attached to the risk of France leaving the euro zone, as a result the Euro is likely poised for further gains, and indeed at last check the EURUSD was rising to session highs, now up 1.2% on the session to 1.0736.