THE HAGUE, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- For the second time in a row, the Dutch general elections are won by outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling party VVD, with the rival Labor Party (PvdA) finishing second after 98 percent of the votes counted.
The VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) won 41, ten more than in 2010, out of the total 150 parliamentary seats, while the Labor Party (PvdA) got 39 seats. The number of seats of both parties was much higher than the poll in recent weeks.
The VVD, which also won the previous elections two years ago, was leading the polls for weeks, but the PvdA led by Diederik Samsom made a strong comeback. It finally ended up in a big battle between the center-left and the center-right.
"Never in history the VVD has been so big as tonight, a beautiful result," said Rutte during his victory party in The Hague. "This is a big boost to continue with the policy to get this beautiful country stronger out of the crisis and get the Dutch economy growing again."
"One thing is for certain," Samson said at his party in Amsterdam. "We do not continue the way of the past two years. Things will change. We will go for a stronger and more social Netherlands. But tonight is not the final stop, it' s the beginning of a long campaign. Because the way to a stronger and more social Netherlands is not easy."
The right-wing populist anti-EU PVV (Party of Freedom) of Geert Wilders went down from 24 seats in the previous elections in 2010 to 15 now. The CDA (Christian Democrats) also declined to 13 (was 21), while Socialist Party SP stayed on the same number (15).
PvdA and VVD could form a majority government together, but that was not the preference of both sides before the elections. Both parties will first start to talk to each other and CDA and D66 might also play a role in the formations of a new government.
"We need a stable government and we want to be part of it," said Samsom. "But we want our beliefs coming through in the government policy."