An exit poll published immediately after voting ended in the Dutch general election suggested that caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative party won the most seats, putting him first in line to form a new ruling coalition.
Mr Rutte, 54, has been in power for more than a decade at the head of three different coalitions and could become the country’s longest-serving prime minister if he manages to form a new coalition.
The Ipsos poll for national broadcaster NOS forecast that Mr Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy would win 35 of the 150 seats in the lower house of parliament.
However, Ipsos said before the poll that uncertainty caused by voting in the Covid-19 pandemic makes the margins of error larger than in other elections.
“A difference of two seats per party could happen more often. A difference of more than two seats cannot be completely ruled out,” Ipsos said in a statement.
Counting votes at municipalities throughout the nation of more than 17 million is expected to last through the night.