The definitive exit poll from the three combined news organisations Nos, RTL and ANP puts the right-wing Liberals VVD and Labour both on 31 seats in the new parliament. This represents a gain of nine seats for the VVD and a loss of two for Labour.It is a tremendous relief that a purely left-wing coalition is, given this result, an impossible proposition.
The poll puts Geert Wilders' anti-Islam PVV on 22 seats - up from nine at present, and well above opinion poll forecasts.
Outgoing prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende's CDA is on 21 in the poll, down from 41 at present.
Commentators are quick to point out that the margin of error in the poll can mount up to two seats.
Nevertheless, the poll indicates it will take four parties to form a new coalition government, and makes it doubtful the Netherlands will have a right-wing government. An alliance of the Liberals, CDA and PVV would have 74 seats in parliament.
Purple plus, an alliance of the VVD, Labour, D66 and GroenLinks would have 83 seats.
In theory the Purple+ option is a possibility, but unless the VVD-leader Mark Rutte is a complete and utter bald-faced liar (given his profession not completely to be ruled out) the wide chasm in thinking on how best to repair the Dutch economy and the nations budget would rule out any coalition between VVD and PvdA.
And as predicted earlier: From here on Geert Wilders is a political force to be reckoned with. That is some good news to those of us who do not want to get rid of the Netherlands and the Dutch just yet.
[UPDATE001] Other election news: Balkenende resigns as CDA vote halves. As a person our erstwhile PM is an eminently likeable person, but you'd have to be blind to not see this coming two miles away.
[UPDATE002] With 25% of the votes counted the liberal conservatives are largest (32 seats), followed by Labour (31) and the PVV (23). The complete listing: VVD 32, PvdA 31, PVV 23, CDA 21, SP 15, D66 10, GroenLinks 10, ChristenUnie 5, SGP 2, Partij voor de Dieren 1, Trots op Nederland 0. The right combination (VVD, PVV and CDA) now has 76 out of 150 seats. It's narrow, but it is a majority!