13 million of Dutch voters began voting on parliamentary elections today, on Wednesday, March 15, Reuters reports.
The vote is the first of three this year, it is seen as a test of anti-immigrant and nationalist feeling, magnified in the last few days by a spat with Turkey, and as one of three polls this year that will gauge the strength of the ties that bind the European Union together.
Never before have Dutch elections been so intensely followed by the international media. The electoral race has been the tightest in the country's recent history, marred by political turmoil and rising nationalist sentiment.
The center-right VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, 50, will vie with the PVV (Party for Freedom) of anti-Islam and anti-EU firebrand Geert Wilders, 53, to form the biggest party in parliament.