Dutch voters will head to the polls on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Polls open at 0530 GMT and close at 1900 GMT. Vote counting starts immediately after the polls close and the first — unofficial — results will be published by public broadcaster NOS just after 1900 GMT. The process normally goes on until the early hours of the following morning. Final official results will be published Monday, Sept. 17 by the national election council. The outcome of the elections may influence Europe’s austerity-focused approach to dealing with its debt crisis. The German-led austerity drive has been strongly supported by the outgoing government of Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. But a large number of Dutch voters are frustrated with belt-tightening and have become increasingly wary of bailing out southern European governments. “The Dutch elections might shift the balance of power in Europe towards less austerity and reduced support for further bailouts,” according to ING.
The Dutch voting system is based on proportional representation and doesn’t use an election threshold. This means that a party that wins 10% of the vote will also occupy roughly 10% of the 150-seat Lower House. So, a party will secure a seat if it wins at least 1/150 of all the votes. The system makes it easier for small and exotic parties to enter parliament. One example is the Animal Party, which currently has two seats.
Full Article: At a Glance: Dutch Elections – The Euro Crisis – WSJ.