Europe watches on as Dutch voters go to the polls

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Amid years of increasing refugee populations in the Netherlands, immigration played a central role and ultimately became a flashpoint in Wednesday's contentious parliamentary election.

This election sees one of the largest numbers of parties participating ever in Dutch national elections with 28 different parties on the ballot with 15 potentially getting seats in the parliament.

Here is everything you need to know about how the Dutch elections will unfold.

While Wilders' failure to meet expectations will be the major story, the biggest loser in terms of seats was the Labour Party (PvDA), a current coalition partner, which went from 29 seats down to nine. Besides, none of the parties is likely to get a clear majority of 76 seats or more, so a coalition will be necessary in order to form the government.

It could take months to build a coalition after the final tally is known. Wilders called his opponent the "prime minister of foreigners" and said he will prioritize Dutch citizens. However, it can only count on 26 of 150 seats, which is far from the success in its previous elections held in 2012 (41 seats in parliament). This trend has reversed over the last few weeks, however. The party has been heavily criticised for its support of stark austerity measures. Turnout during the last election, when there were 21 parties running, was 74.6 percent of registered voters (which is nearly all citizens of voting age in the Netherlands). His party is campaigning on a theme of "time for change", which has drawn support especially from younger voters.

What a Fed rate hike means for you
Savings accounts, CDs, and money market vehicles are all likely to provide somewhat higher income when interest rates increase. Don't expect any movement at the Bank of England on Thursday at noon, or from Japanese rate setters while London sleeps.

The euro touched the highest level in more than a month after an exit poll showed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Liberals easily beat the anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in Wednesday's election, allaying concerns about the spread of populism in the currency bloc.

The parties that have said they would not work with the PVV include the VVD, CDA, D66, the Green Left, and the Christian Union.

The title of Wilders" 1-page election manifesto (only in Dutch) translates into English as "Make the Netherlands ours again'. "People feel misrepresented", he said, predicting the feeling would surface in the French and Germany elections.

Dutch firebrand Geert Wilders says that whatever the result of Wednesday's election, the kind of populist politics he and others in Europe represent will be here to stay.

The issue and debate around foreigners in the Netherlands has heightened in recent days following the diplomatic row and weekend rioting over the barring of the Turkish family minister from entering the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam.