Far-right surge strips Dutch government of senate majority: exit poll | News | DW | 20.03.2019
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Far-right surge strips Dutch government of senate majority: exit poll

An anti-EU party is poised to become the second-largest party in the senate, according to preliminary results for provincial elections. Without a majority, the ruling government will need to reach out to other parties.

The Netherlands' governing coalition is poised to lose its majority in the upper house due to a surge in support for a far-right populist party during regional elections, according to an exit poll published by Dutch broadcaster NOS.

The vote took place days after a suspected gunman shot dead three people in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Preliminary results suggest:

  • The anti-EU Forum for Democracy will emerge as the second-strongest party
  • The Greens will double their seats
  • Prime Minister Mark Rutte's center-right coalition will lose its senate majority

Read more: Utrecht shooting: Letter points to terrorist motive

A photo of Thierry Forum, who leads the Forum for Democracy, on a table next to sparkling wine

Thierry Baudet, the leader of the Forum for Democracy, has derided women, religious minorities and migrants

Far-right surge

Forum for Democracy, a political upstart led by the hard-line Thierry Baudet, is expected to gain 10 seats, just two less than Prime Minister Rutte's conservative VVD Party.

The party used the Utrecht attack to shore up support for its far-right platforms. "You can tell what's going on anyway," Baudet told a rally. "This is a combination of an honor killing and a half-terrorist motive."

Baudet has courted controversy in the past, with factually incorrect statements such as "women in general excel less in jobs and have less ambition."

Read more: Former far-right Dutch politician converts to Islam 

What is the Dutch Senate?

It is the Netherlands' upper house. Its members are chosen by 570 representatives, who were elected in 12 provinces during Wednesday's elections.

What happens next?

The Dutch Electoral Council is expected to publish the official results on March 25. In May, the new Senate will be seated.

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ls/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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