DE TELEGRAAF (The Netherlands), BBC NEWS, THE GUARDIAN (UK)
AMSTERDAM - Two Dutch centrist parties have secured an absolute parliamentary majority between them in Wednesday’s elections, reports The Guardian.
VVD, the party of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte, claimed victory with 41 seats, two more than center-left rivals Labor, which won 39.
According to BBC News, Dutch Liberal and Labor politicians are now expected to form a fractious coalition government tasked with implementing unpopular austerity measures.
While both parties are pro-EU, they have opposed polices on social and fiscal policy.
Dierderik Samson, the new Labor Party leader, has warned the Liberals that he would bargain hard in coalition talks.
Samson has advocated tax raises and public spending increase to create jobs, while Rutte’s policy echoes German Chancellor Angel Merkel's plans of strictly adhering to austerity measures to reduce the country’s deficit.
Coalition talks are officially due to begin next week, reports De Telegraaf.
The election was disastrous for Eurosceptic parties. The anti-immigrant Freedom Party of Geert Wilders won only 15 seats, well down on its previous 24.
The far-left Socialist Party, opposed to austerity and euro zone bailout, also secured 15 seats - the same score as in 2010.
The election was called after the Freedom Party withdrew its support to Mr Rutte and refused to approve budget cuts six months ago.
The official result of the election in the euro zone’s fifth largest economy will be confirmed next Monday.
Source: De Telegraaf