Rutte and Wilders face-off in Dutch general election

The final result will be out by the early morning on Thursday.

Lodewijk Asscher of the Labour Party, the junior party in Mr Rutte's coalition, called Mr Wilders a man of "10,000 angry tweets and no solutions".

Due to a fear for Internet hackers, the results of the forthcoming Dutch general elections will be fully calculated by hand instead of partly by the software used for election results in the past eight years. Mr Wilders slipped behind in the final week of February. The position of becoming the biggest party is important, because that party can take the initiative in forming a government coalition.

The Peilingwijzer seat forecast, based on aggregated polling.

An opinion poll published Sunday showed Rutte's liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) on 24 seats, two seats ahead of Wilders' Freedom Party. However, the difference in the polls with the right wing populist PVV and the Christian Democrats CDA is small and the leftist liberals D66, green lefties GroenLinks, Socialist Party SP and Labor PvdA also still hope for a victory.

One swallow doesn't make a summer, and neither does one election cause a collapse of a whole system, but that's not to say we won't see some euro fallout.

Rutte reiterated in the debate that he would not form a government with Wilders even if the Freedom party leader gains the most seats in Parliament, following Wilders's comments calling for "fewer Moroccans". The forces of dissatisfaction with the political elite and outright xenophobia that have fueled Wilders' rise are not confined to the Netherlands; nor will they dissipate after the election.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "I am very pleased that the PVV clearly dropped in the polls in recent weeks", he said, according to the broadcaster. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two go into a runoff on May 7.

Wilders was seen as slipping, barely clinging on to second place with between 19 and 22 MPs - but still up on the 12 MPs his Freedom Party (PVV) had before.

However, this would put them in control of at most 20% of the seats in the country's Lower Chamber.

Perpetual head of investment strategy for multi asset Matt Sherwood agreed that the "real danger" in the Dutch election was its potential impact on sentiment elsewhere. And he wants them to vote in a referendum in Turkey next month to give the president there a lot more power.

Mr Rutte has driven through unpopular austerity measures over the last four years, but the Dutch economic recovery has gathered pace recently and unemployment has fallen fast.

Mr Wilders, often referred to as the Dutch Donald Trump, wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union - a term known as "Nexit".

Wilders - who has longstanding connections with right-wing USA conservatives and attended the Republican convention in Cleveland last Summer - is a fan of the new United States president, having recently said he "has done more to beat the mass immigration in two weeks' time [in office] than the whole European governments in their whole existence".

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