Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Netanyahu resists international pressure to stop air strikes on Gaza

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Europe

Dutch vote in polls clouded by economic woes

©

Video by Jonathan CRANE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-09

Dutch voters elect their new parliament Wednesday, with right-wing parties expected to capitalise on a grim economic outlook and proposed tough stances on immigration.

AFP - Dutch voters cast ballots Wednesday for a new parliament as polls predicted victory for a centre-right party vowing to slash public spending and strong gains for an outspoken anti-immigrant group.
   


The first national election in a eurozone country since the Greek debt crisis has been dominated by economic concerns and is expected to yield a shift to the right of the Dutch political spectrum.
   
As observers said a high voter turnout would benefit parties to the left, an analysis of voting patterns showed that only 38 percent of citizens had cast their ballots eight hours after polls opened, compared to 43 percent last year.
   
The leader of the centre-right Liberal Party (VVD), Mark Rutte, voted in The Hague as polls predicted he was set to become the first Dutch prime minister from his political camp since World War I.
   
"I hope that today my party will become the biggest," Rutte said.
   
Dutch voters stood before a stark choice, he added: "Do we postpone the difficult measures and pay the price later, or are we prepared to bite the bullet now and come through the crisis stronger?"
   
Final polls on Tuesday predicted 34 of 150 lower house seats for the VVD, up from its current 21.
   
The Liberals promise to cut public spending by about 45 billion euros (54 billion dollars) over the next four years and by 20 billion euros a year as from 2015 -- the highest proposed by any party.
   
They want to eradicate the public deficit which was 5.3 percent of GDP last year, shrink the government and parliament, lower income taxes and cap civil servants' pay rises, while raising the retirement age by two years to 67.
   
The party also wants to limit immigration of "underprivileged" foreigners.
   
Led by anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, the Party for Freedom (PVV) is expected to emerge as another winner in the vote, with polls suggesting it could double its seats to 18.
   
It campaigned to halt immigration from Muslim countries and ban new mosques and the Koran in a bid to "stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands".
   
Flanked by half a dozen bodyguards, 46-year-old Wilders cast his vote at a primary school in a middle-class suburb of The Hague, saying he was "very positive".
   
"I hope that we can be a part of the next government," he said.
   
Several children and their parents, mostly of immigrant origin, booed the PVV leader as he arrived in a car with blackened windows.
   
"My blood is boiling. I know a lot of people in the neighbourhood are going to vote for him," Linda Mahamdi, 40, a Dutch national who converted to Islam 12 years ago, told AFP, describing Wilders as "dangerous".
   
None of the 18 parties contesting the poll expect to receive an outright majority.
   
"We do not exclude any party," Rutte said in a televised debate Tuesday when asked about a possible coalition with the PVV.
   
Rutte's party lost some ground in polls at the last minute after rivals in a debate Tuesday accused him of promoting "draconian" savings and bulldozing social gains.
   
"You talk of giving the economy a kickstart, but what you mean is giving it an electric shock. Electric shocks come with a high risk of paralysis," PvdA labour party leader Job Cohen said.
   
The PvdA is tipped to be the second largest party with 30 seats, down from its current 33 MPs.
   
Third in the polls is the Christian Democratic CDA of outgoing premier Jan Peter Balkenende, 54, predicted to take 24 seats -- down from 41.
   
Some 12 million Dutch are eligible to vote in polls brought forward after the government collapsed in February in a spat over military aid to Afghanistan.
   
The first exit polls are expected 30 minutes after the 10,000 voting stations close at 9:00 pm (1900 GMT).

Date created : 2010-06-09

  • THE NETHERLANDS

    Dutch far-right party scores victory in local vote

    Read more

  • NETHERLANDS

    PM offers government's resignation to Queen

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)