The dutch Elections: voting underway
Mar 15, Amstradam: Voters are going to the polls in the Netherlands today in the first of three crucial eurozone elections this year.
The race is between Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centre-right party and that of Geert Wilders, running on an anti-immigration platform.
Rutte has said the election is an opportunity for voters to "beat the wrong sort of populism". Mr Wilders has pledged to take the Netherlands out of the EU, close all mosques and ban the Koran. His Freedom Party had been leading in opinion polls but they have since suggested his support may be slipping.France goes to the polls next month to elect a new president while Germany is due to hold a general election in September.
Meanwhile the polls that has been overshadowed by the row between The Netherlands and Turkey, has essentially come down to a tight race between Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centre-right party and that of far-right, anti-Islam populist's Geert Wilders.
Ahead of the vote, opinion polls showed Rutte's liberal VVD narowly leading the race, and even if Wilders' PVV emerges as the biggest party in parliament, it is unlikely to obtain the majority of the 150 seats enabling it to form a government. Most parties have pledged not to govern with the PVV.
Most polls opened at 7:30am local time, while an initial exit poll is expected immediately after 9pm (20:00 GMT) when the last voting stations close.
The Oslo Times International News Network