World

Dutch voters go to polls in local elections with national consequences for ruling coalition

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte casts his ballot in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Rutte. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte casts his ballot in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Rutte. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte answers questions from reporters after casting his ballot in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Rutte. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte answers questions from reporters after casting his ballot in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Rutte. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

  • Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, casts his ballot in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, casts his ballot in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)  (The Associated Press)

The Dutch are going to the polls to elect 12 provincial councils, in a vote that could have profound consequences for the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The 570 provincial representatives elected in Wednesday's vote will, in turn, choose a new Senate on May 26.

Rutte's two-party coalition already lacks a majority in the Senate and relies on three opposition parties to help pass new laws.

Polls suggest that the results expected late Wednesday could leave even Rutte's ad-hoc five-party senate grouping without a majority, putting in question the government's ability to push legislation through both houses of parliament.

Polls show Rutte's Liberal Party likely to lose seats, but remain the largest party, while junior coalition partner Labor could lose up to half its seats.