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Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party votes in the general election in The Hague, Netherlands, March 15, 2017. Those negotiations could take months, and the largest parties have all indicated they will not be working with Wilders.

Wednesday's election was seen by Europe-watchers as a litmus test for other upcoming elections across the continent, specifically in France and Germany. "This patriotic spring will happen".

Closely following them are the Christian Democrats, the Democrats 66, and Geert Wilders' anti-immigration, anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV); all three won 19 seats.

The young charismatic leader appears to have drawn huge support among younger voters, and boosted his party from just four seats in parliament to 14. Preliminary election results are expected today, Thursday, with the final vote count to be presented on Friday.

Mr Rutte had been more than anxious that he'd lose out to Geert Wilders, the far-right, anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-EU candidate.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, commenting on the results of the Dutch elections, says Europe is heading toward an abyss and religious wars.

"We want to stick to the course we have - safe and stable and prosperous".

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Trumpeting the country's economic growth and stability, Mr Rutte is bidding for a third term as premier of the country - one of the largest economies in the eurozone and a founding father of the European Union. "Congratulations on this terrific result".

Rutte admitted that the differences had been "emphasised" throughout the campaign, but called on the parties to "bring the country back together again" and to form a stable government in a "sensible manner".

The Brexit result, the election of President Donald Trump and the rise of Marine Le Pen in France somehow did not make Mr Wilders's success inevitable.

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament until earlier this year, said he was "relieved" Mr Wilders' party had lost.

Despite the loss of seats, Rutte's task seems to have been made easier by Wilders's xenophobic rhetoric.

It remains to be seen if the 30-year-old Mr Klaver will take his party into the next ruling coalition, which looks likely to be dominated by Mr Rutte's VVD and other right-leaning parties. However, all the main parties have ruled out the possibility of entering a coalition with the PVV. Polls suggest no obvious left or right-leaning majority coalition will emerge, meaning lengthy negotiations between party leaders to hammer out a new constellation to lead the country is likely.


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