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Labor Party leads in European elections in Netherlands: exit poll

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-05-24 09:16

A woman dressed in a traditional costume casts her vote in European Parliament election in Bunschoten-Spakenburg, Netherlands May 23, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

THE HAGUE - The Labor Party (PvdA) surprisingly leads the European Parliament elections in the Netherlands, according to the definite exit poll by research bureau Ipsos announced by national broadcaster NOS on Thursday night, half an hour after polling stations were closed.

According to the exit poll, PvdA would get 5 of the total 26 Dutch seats in the European parliament, 2 more than five years ago during the 2014 elections. Latest poll on Wednesday forecast a close battle between the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and far-right anti-Europe Forum for Democracy (FvD), but neither matched the PvdA in the exit poll.

The VVD are on 4 seats (+1) in the exit poll, the Christian Democrats (CDA) on 4 (-1), Forum for Democracy, which entered the European elections for the first time, are on 3, just like GroenLinks (green left). The liberal democrats D66 and the far-right anti-Europe Party for Freedom PVV are the biggest losers based on the exit poll with only 2 (-2) and 1 (-3) seats respectively. The final result will follow after voting in all countries finish on Sunday night.

The result can be considered a pro-Europe vote. The PvdA campaign leader is Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, and lead candidate of the European socialists. Timmermans wants to become the next president of the European Commission.

"Thank you everybody for the trust, I will do anything to deliver in the forthcoming five years," Timmermans told Dutch television NOS. "The result shows people still want the EU to play a role. I notice people want a different Europe. I hope the European social democrats can bring this different Europe closer," he added.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD said: "This a good result...Of course I would prefer to be the biggest party, but the PvdA has done a terrific job."

Thierry Baudet, leader of the FvD, was also satisfied, despite the fact that the result was not as good as expected for the anti-Europe party. "This is a fantastic result in our first European parliament election," he noted.

At 7.30 am local time, on Thursday, the country's 9,340 polling stations opened their doors for the ninth European elections. A total of 13.5 million Dutch citizens aged 18 or over are eligible to vote on 16 parties which between them have 308 candidates competing for 26 seats in the European parliament.

The polling stations closed at 9 pm local time. The turnout is expected to be 41.2 percent, said Ipsos, higher than the 2014 elections, when turnout was 37.3 percent.

Like most parties, the Dutch Labor Party is part of a greater European alliance. The PvdA is part of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats S&D, while the CDA is a member of the European People's Party EPP. D66 and VVD belong to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe ALDE, the PVV a member of Europe of Nations and Freedom ENF, GroenLinks of the European Green Party and FvD want to join the European Conservatives and Reformists.

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