Winner of Dutch elections

VVD Mark Rutte has won as predicted the parliamentary elections of 2010. The Liberals get 31 seats, one more than the Labour Party. PVV Geert Wilders leads to 24 seats.

VVD leader Mark Rutte was greeted Thursday morning with cheers by his party in parliament. The VVD seems to be the winner of the elections with a seat over the Labour Party. Not all votes are counted. the final results will follow Tuesday.

The pro-business VVD party claimed victory in Dutch elections early Thursday, as voters in the Netherlands continued a Europe-wide shift to the political right and rewarded parties that pledged to cut government spending.

“It appears as if for the first time in our history the VVD has become the largest party in the Netherlands,” would-be prime minister Mark Rutte told chanting supporters in the seaside town of Scheveningen.

With 96.5 percent of votes counted, Rutte’s party led left-leaning Labor by 31 seats to 30 in the 150-seat parliament, a result that spelled weeks and possibly months of haggling between the two to fashion a ruling coalition.

Rutte, 43, is a sworn bachelor who worked for 10 years in the corporate world. Rutte was born in The Hague and attended Leiden University where he studied history. He then entered the business world, working for Unilever and Calvé.

His joined the VVD as a student and was a member of the party’s national board between 1993 and 1997. In 2002 he was appointed junior minister for social affairs and employment in the first Balkenende-led cabinet. By 2004 he had moved to higher education and science.

Voters also gave a major boost to the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, which scored its best-ever finish with 24 seats.

The results after 97% have been counted:

VVD 31 (22) 20.06%
PvdA 30 (33) 20%
PVV 24 (9) 16%
CDA 21 (41) 14%
SP 15 (25) 10%
GroenLinks 10 (7) 6.6%
D66 10 (3) 6.6%
ChristenUnie 5 (6) 3.3%
SGP 2 (2) 1.3%
PvdD 2 (2) 1.3%
Rita Verdonk 0 (1)

Under the Dutch constitution, party leaders will next visit Queen Beatrix later Thursday to inform her of their coalition preferences — the start of a long negotiating process.

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