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 Dutch PM's party leads over far-rights in parliamentary election, - Reuters

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's center-right VVD Party remained the biggest in parliament after an election on Wednesday

According to exit polls, Rutte roundly saw off a challenge by the anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election on March 15, Censor.NET reports citing Reuters.

Rutte's VVD Party was projected to win 31 of parliament's 150 seats, down from 41 at the last vote in 2012, but ahead of Wilders who tied in second place with two other parties at 19 each, according to the polls by national broadcaster NOS based on interviews with voters.

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At 81 percent, turnout was the highest in 30 years in an election that was a test of whether the Dutch wanted to end decades of liberalism and choose a nationalist, nativist path by voting for Wilders and his promise to "de-Islamicise" the Netherlands.

In the city of Nijmegen, polling stations had to order extra ballot papers and extend opening times to give people enough time to vote.

The result was a relief to mainstream parties across Europe, particularly in France and Germany, where right-wing nationalists hope to make a big impact in elections this year.

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