The election as it happened
Thursday 13 September 2012
Election day, and night, and the day after as it happened.
17.00: The irony of the Dutch political system, says pollster Maurice de Hond, is that by emphasising the rivalry between Labour and the VVD, you end up with a government with both of them in it. And that is a good point to end this blog on.
16.00: Social affairs minister Henk Kamp is appointed to start up the cabinet formation process. A good choice because he knows where the problem policy areas lie, says one pundit.
10.30: The final results came too late for the papers but here's a wrap of the comment and analysis so far.
07.00: Back on duty - the VVD are confirmed to have 41 seats, Labour 39. Our wrap of the results.
01.34: Google and news agency ANP are working together on an automatically-updated interactive map of the results.
01.24: The PvdA has just 1% of the vote in the fishing village of Urk. Just over 51% voted for the fundamentalist SGP.
01.15: With 60% of the votes counted it is VVD 40, PvdA 39
00.30: With 25% of the votes counted it is VVD 41, PvdA 39
00.03: Amsterdam is the first of the four big cities to declare. Labour are up marginally at 36%, the VVD are second on 19% and D66 is the biggest winner on 14%. Support for Wilders is down by around a third. The PVV now has 6% support in the capital.
23.40: Mark Rutte arrives at the VVD party to Coldplay's Viva la Vida - When I ruled the world. Interesting choice.
He goes on to praise Diederik Samsom's 'unbelievable performance'.
23.25: The results are still slow to come in. A Nos reporter explains why voting computers are no longer used - all computers can be hacked and there is no way of checking if this has happened.
23.15: Labour leader Diederik Samsom arrives at the Paradiso music venue in Amsterdam, grinning from ear to ear. The Netherlands needs a speedy, stable cabinet, he tells the cheering crowd.
Samsom is joined on stage by former prime minister Wim Kok and former party leaders Wouter Bos and Job Cohen. Bos for a cabinet job again?
23.00: The results are starting to trickle in - Dongeradeel, Dirksland, Vaals
22.30: An uneasy-looking Geert Wilders says the best days of the PVV are yet to come.
21.55: D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is greeted by supporters with cheers. It is the fifth election in a row that support for the party has gone up, he says.
21.50: Former PvdA junior finance minister Wim Vermeend says the results - such massive support for two parties - show that the Dutch want stability.
21.43: The Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog is the first to declare. The biggest swing is to the fundamentalist SGP - perhaps an orthodox Christian family is on holiday, said the tv presenter.
21.35: Nos star pundit Ferry Mingelen is demonstrating that - going by the exit poll - it will take six parties to form a centre-right government and a left-centre one will be equally difficult. The logical answer is for the PvdA and VVD to work together.
21.13: The parties are assessing the results of the first exit poll. The SP says it is not disappointed with the results, which predict no change in its support. The PVV's number two Fleur Agema says she is shocked - support is down from 24 to 13.
21.05: Prognosis after the polls closed
VVD 41 (31), PvdA 40 (30), SP 15 (15), PVV 13 (24), CDA 13 (21), D66 12 (10), GroenLinks 4 (10), ChristenUnie 4 (5), SGP 3 (2), PvdA 2 (2), 50+ 3 (0)
20.43: The Socialist Party party is in full swing ahead of the exit poll, according to the Nos coverage. The band is currently playing 'If I were a rich man'.
20.15: A reporter and cameraman from populist tv broadcaster Powned have been thrown out of the PVV's gathering in The Hague, apparently for asking awkward questions. According to the Powned website, Geert Wilders is the only person allowed to talk. Reporters are not allowed to mingle either - they have to keep to a roped-off area.
20.05: A Nos correspondent says the fact we have had so many elections over the past few year has one positive effect - everyone knows the rules and no-one forgets their ID - except Arie Slob of course.
19.40: What the New York Times says about the Dutch election.
19.32: Where will Mark Rutte and Diederik Samsom be tonight? Rutte is at the Carlton Hotel in Scheveningen and Samsom will be at the Paradiso music venue in Amsterdam, says Nos's Dominique van der Heyde. Both will only emerge in public when the results are pretty definitive, she says - and that could take a long time.
18.45. With three hours to go, turnout is around 48%, slightly down on 2010, reports pollster Ipsos Synovate.
18.40: The Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog has roped in its 'most athletic' civil servants to count the votes the minute the polls shut. Last election it was pipped to the fastest count record by nearby Vlieland.
18.35: Nos reports long queues at railway station polling stations as commuters cast their votes on the way home.
18.30: The country's smallest polling station, the corner of a sitting room in a private house in the village of Marle, is set to break the record for the highest turnout - which currently stands at 124%.
So many people have flocked to the voting station out of curiosity that turnout is already 100%, and 10 of the 46 locals still have to cast their votes, says the Volkskrant.
17.00: Local broadcaster RTV Utrecht says over 100 people were not allowed to vote at the city's train station because they did not have the right paperwork. A handful were so angry they tore up their voting card.
16.50: Does the Netherlands need a new voting system to stop the Italianisation of Dutch politics? asks Nos columnist Wilco Boom. He points out that the last time a Dutch cabinet lasted the full four years was back in 1994-98.
16.40: 840 Dutch nationals registered to vote in Australia, Nos television reports. Their votes are already being counted.
16.30: Turnout on the Wadden Sea island of Vlieland is already over 100% - thanks to holidaymakers.
15.45: The BBC has been talking to people in Maastricht about their problems with the euro.
15.20: Turnout is similar to two year ago, at around 27% so far, says the Volkskrant.
15.10: A Dutch student tells DutchNews.nl: 'I voted for Diederik Samsom. We need an intelligent man to run the country. He did not take eight years to graduate and he has a degree in nuclear physics.'
15.00: Last night's Nos debate was the best watched of all six televised debates, the public broadcaster calculates. In total, the debates attracted 7,620,000 viewers, equivalent to nearly half the population. So who watched all six?
14.45: Pieter Klein, deputy head of RTL news, says in a column he cannot wait to find out 'how much damage we voters have inflicted'. 'We don't need any more spin doctors, campaign leaders, strategist, one-lines and polls. We need tough debates with content.'
14.21: Nos television has a compilation of the main party leaders casting their own votes.
13.31: Turnout in Amsterdam is so far down slightly on June 2010 at around 14% but in The Hague it is up, at almost 20% so far.
13.30: Finance minister Jan Kees de Jager says people have been asking why he is not on the CDA candidates list. He's telling them to vote for Sybrand Buma. The real answer is he does not want to be an MP.
12.20: News agency ANP reports only 30 people have so far bothered to vote at the polling station on Noordwijk beach - despite the fine weather.
11.55: RTL news points out that unlike during other elections, party leaders are keeping up the pressure today as well. Mark Rutte, for example, has again laid into Geert Wilders on BNR radio.
11.50: Today is a historic day, says Geert Wilders on Twitter. 'It is the day we can show a fist to Brussels'.
11.31: Employers' leader Bernard Wientjes of the VNO-NCW has again called for the formation of a stable centre cabinet and says he is pleased that populism is on it way out.
11.30: Turnout is around 13%, reports Nos television, the same as in June 2010.
10.30: Kees van der Staaij, leader of the orthodox Christian party SGP was handing out cake in The Hague, because it is his birthday. His birthday wish? An extra seat in parliament for his party, which currently has two.
10.00: Arie Slob, leader of the smaller Christian party ChristenUnie used the microblogging service Twitter to tell the world he had forgotten to take ID to the polling station.
10.00: Google NL got in on the act, with an election-related doodle.
09.30: By 08.30, more than 500 people had voted at Leiden train station
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