Dutch vote in test of anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe
A woman wearing an islamic headscarf, votes in the general elections in a mosque in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 15, 2017. (REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares)
The Dutch tested their own tolerance for immigration and Islam on Wednesday in an election magnified by a furious row with Turkey, the first of three polls in the European Union this year where nationalist parties are seeking breakthroughs.
The center-right VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, 50, is vying with the PVV (Party for Freedom) of anti-Islam and anti-EU firebrand Geert Wilders, 53, to form the biggest party in parliament.
As many as 13 million voters began casting ballots at polling stations across the country that will close at 2000 GMT. A charged campaign, plus clear skies and sunshine meant high turnout was expected. National broadcaster NOS said that by 0930 GMT in the morning, turnout was at 15 percent, 2 percent ahead of the previous parliamentary election in 2012. (Reuters)