dpa/GNA – Three days of voting are set to end with election results in the Netherlands on Wednesday, with political observers keeping an eye on whether Prime Minister Mark Rutte can add to his already 10 years in office.
Voting started on Monday and was stretched over three days to help alleviate concerns about coronavirus contagion as people cast their ballots for the 150 members of the House of Representatives.
About 12 per cent of the 13 million voters eligible have already cast their ballots. Postal voting rules were also loosened for those aged 70 and up.
On Wednesday, polls opened at 7:30 am (0630 GMT) and were set to remain open until 9 pm.
Analysts are of the opinion that Rutte could benefit in the race because his government is generally seen as having performed well against the coronavirus.
That said, his margin of support on this topic has shrunk in recent months, and there is some anger about the recent lockdowns, especially a night-time curfew.
Rutte is also currently serving only as an acting prime minister because his government had to step down recently amid a scandal about parents forced to repay child care benefits, sometimes erroneously.
If he succeeds, it remains to be seen whether he can rebuild his existing coalition, which consists of his centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal, the conservative Christian Union and the liberal D66.
A record 37 parties have candidates in the race. According to polls, about 17 of them are expected to pull together enough votes to make it into the legislature.