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Netherlands begins 3 days of voting for election amid COVID-19 measures

A voter casts his ballot at a polling location in Tilburg, the Netherlands, on Monday. The parliamentary election will run through Wednesday. Photo by Rob Engelaar/EPA-EFE
A voter casts his ballot at a polling location in Tilburg, the Netherlands, on Monday. The parliamentary election will run through Wednesday. Photo by Rob Engelaar/EPA-EFE

March 15 (UPI) -- Dutch voters went to the polls on Monday to begin casting their ballots in a parliamentary election that will conclude in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Freedom and Democracy Party (VVD) are expected to win a fourth term, and as many as 40 seats in the 150-seat Dutch House.

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The election comes just weeks after the collapse of the Dutch government in January over a major scandal involving child benefits that led to the resignations of several Cabinet members.

Other parties that could play a factor in the new coalition government include the Christian Democrats and the progressive Democrats 66 Party, both of which are expected to win more than a dozen seats.

Three days of voting began on Monday and will end Wednesday. Voting has been spread out across the Netherlands to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

Rutte's party is not expected to win enough seats to govern by itself, meaning a coalition government is the likely outcome.

In 2017, it took lawmakers more than 200 days to agree to a governing alliance.

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