THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The latest on the final day of campaigning for the Dutch elections (all times local):
The Dutch Green Left party, led by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, has won an informal election held among students a day before the Netherlands goes to the polls for real.
According to results released Tuesday of votes by just under 140,000 students at 495 high schools, the Greens won 19.3 percent of the vote, followed in second place by the centrist liberal-democratic D66 party with 17.4 percent and the right-wing VVD of two-term Prime Minister Mark Rutte in third with 15 percent.
"Students choose hope over fear," Klaver tweeted. "I hope that adults make the same choice tomorrow."
The far-right populism of Geert Wilders is apparently not as popular among the Dutch youth as it is for the country's adult population. While Wilders' Party for Freedom is in second place in polling for Wednesday's elections, it trailed in fourth in the school election with 12.6 percent.
The school election is organized by Pro Demos, an independent organization that informs the public about Dutch democracy.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has offered the resignation of his government to the Dutch monarch on the eve of parliamentary elections.
The move — a formality ahead of every parliamentary election in the Netherlands — effectively puts the coalition government of Rutte's Liberal VVD and the Labor party into a caretaker capacity.
Wednesday's election is expected to be followed by protracted coalition talks between several parties since no single party is likely to have an outright majority.
Even though a caretaker government is not supposed to make major decisions, Rutte could still face tough times over the coming weeks, especially with the diplomatic spat with Turkey further deteriorating in the last few days.
Amid unprecedented international attention, the Dutch go to the polls Wednesday in a parliamentary election that is seen as a bellwether for the future of populism in a year of crucial votes in Europe.
With the anti-Islam, far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders running just behind two-term right-wing Prime Minister Mark Rutte in polls, the Dutch vote could give an indication of whether the tide of populism that swept Britain toward the European Union exit door and Donald Trump into the White house has peaked.
The elections in the Netherlands come ahead of polls in France and Germany over the next half year, when right-wing nationalists will also be key players.
Rutte has driven through unpopular austerity measures over the last four years, but as the election approaches the Dutch economic recovery has gathered pace and unemployment has fallen fast.