- Category: Election 2012
- Created on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 10:46
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Yesterday a slender majority of delegates, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal (VVD) party, favoured an early election on June 27.
However, after smaller parties spoke out against the move, claiming it would not give them enough time to organise their candidates, the leader of the Labour Party (PvdA), Diederik Samsom, told Parliament he preferred a September 12 date.
Parliament will debate the timing of the electoral process in a debate on Tuesday afternoon, after Rutte submitted his centre-right minority government’s resignation on Monday.
Samsom indicated his party’s change of mind early on Tuesday. ‘The Netherlands needs to move on. Too much time has been wasted already,’ he said.
The VVD and the Socialist Party (SP), who are the front-runners in current opinion polls, had been in favour of an early election, as had the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders, whose withdrawl from the coalition deal triggered the government’s collapse.
The PvdA has recovered much of the ground it lost under former leader Job Cohen, though on current form it still stands to lose several of its 30 seats. Samsom will hope that a longer election campaign will allow him to close the gap further.
The move was mainly opposed by parties struggling in the polls, notably the VVD’s coalition partner, the Christian Democrats, who could lose nearly half their members if current trends continue.
Under Dutch law elections must be held within 83 days of a decree by the Queen dissolving the cabinet.
The royal proclamation will therefore have to be held over until the end of June, with Rutte’s cabinet continuing in office on a mandate limited to non-controversial issues.
That will raise questions about whether the government can find the €16 billion of savings needed to comply with European Union budget rules, which require nations to keep their deficit to within 3 per cent of GDP.
Minor parties, led by the left-liberal D66 group, have called for Parliament to draw up an interim 'crisis budget' in the national interest to stave off the threat of EU sanctions and the loss of the Netherlands' AAA credit rating.
The fractious nature of Dutch politics has yielded a wealth of single-issue or minority-interest parties, several of which have a realistic chance of winning seats in the 150-member Lower House.
No fewer than 27 parties are eligible to field candidates in the election. Up to 11 of them are on course to win seats, including the Party for Animals (PvdD), the hardline Calvinist Reformed Party (SGP) and the 50Plus party for the elderly.