Pro-EU Parties Sweep Dutch ElectionBulgaria in EU | September 13, 2012, Thursday // 08:15| views
Mark Rutte, the current Liberal PM, casts his vote. Photo by EPA
Dutch voters have overwhelmingly backed centrist pro-EU parties committed to debt-busting austerity, while the far-right formation of Geert Wilders suffered a humiliating defeat on Wednesday.
With 92 percent of municipalities reporting, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD party was set to take 41 seats in the 150-member Parliament, two more than its centrist-left rival, the Labor party. Rutte said Labor leader Diederik Samsom had called him to concede.
"Tonight let's enjoy it, and tomorrow we have get to work to make sure a stable Cabinet is formed as soon as possible," Rutte has told reporters.
The xenophobic PVV party of Geert Wilders has lost eight seats in the Parliament, dropping to just 16.
Wilders, who brought down the last government in April after refusing to approve an austerity-driven budget, is not expected to play any role in the future coalition.
The far-right party's defeat might lead to the Netherlands softening its stance on Bulgaria and Romania's potential Schengen entry.
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