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Labour damaged by failure to sign up to five-party austerity package

Saturday 28 April 2012

New Labour party leader Diederick Samsom is under fire for not taking part in this week's high-pressure austerity talks, with both party members and opinion polls showing a drop in support for the PvdA.

Two opinion polls taken after Thursday's agreement between the minority coalition and three smaller parties show support for Labour down compared with earlier this month.

In the latest Maurice de Hond poll, almost all the gains made by Samsom since he took over the party leadership have been wiped out. De Hond gives the PvdA 19 seats, down five on a week ago. An Ipsos Synovate poll on Saturday puts Labour on 25 seats, two down on a week ago.

Old partners

The VVD Liberals - currently the biggest party in parliament with 31 seats - have also lost popularity since agreeing the budget package and are down three and two seats respectively.

Geert Wilders' anti-immigration PVV, which pulled out of its alliance with the government a week ago, is down two seats in the De Hond poll at 17, and remains unchanged in the Synovate snapshot.

By contrast, the three parties which agreed the deal - GroenLinks, D66 and ChristenUnie - all benefit in the polls.

Labour voters

Meanwhile, research by television current affairs show EenVandaag shows two-thirds of Labour voters support the austerity package and half think Samsom was wrong not to join the negotiations. Some 40% think he was right to opt out.

Senior Labour members have also expressed disappointment in Samsom's decision. Amsterdam council executive Lodewijk Asscher, tipped by many as a future party leader, said the new deal has many good points for the capital.

Former minister Bram Peper told BNR radio the party has lost an opportunity.


Samsom said on Thursday he could not support some of the measures agreed by the five parties. 'It is about the whole package. Will the pain be shared fairly?' he said. In particular he is unhappy at the 'unnecessary' decision to bring forward the increase in the state pension age.

Some commentators say by not taking part in the talks, Samsom has kept his hands free to fight against the government in the election campaign.

The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new government on September 12.

However, at a PvdA congress in Utrecht on Saturday, Samsom was given the backing of delegates for his stand, Nos television reports. Samsom told the gathering Labour had been invited to join the other three parties and the cabinet, but only if he would agree to sign on the dotted line, Samsom said.

Earlier stories
Budget deal reached, but with elections looming, for how long?
Crisis averted? five parties agree austerity package

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Austerity is great for the rich and the media is controlled by the rich, but in real life Austerity is bad for most people especially the working class

By Phil | 28 April 2012 4:35 PM

“This was the Government that was”. Not being Dutch but through circumstance in Holland trying to get out I have an opinion. Not being a socialist or having any political affiliation but a democrat, I can understand Mr. Samsom and his party. The “zusammengebastelt”, “cobbled together”,” bricolé” arrangement made by your government without legitimation congratulated by only Brussels and Fr.Merkel is in my opinion wrong as the results of the French election will show, this together with basic economics. The, a not European problem but a Euro-Zone problem will not be solved. Economically it would make more sense to give everybody a 1000 euro to spend within week to kick start the economy. This “Papyrus” signed by your government will deepen the recession and will not be upheld by all euro-zone members leaving Holland as a poor rich man.
With Regards Terence Hale

By Terence Hale | 29 April 2012 5:31 PM

This will be the dutch version of Cameron's "we're in it all together"

It's working so well in the UK
Austerity = The act of taking wealth from the poor workers, to subsidise the rich.

By Jimmy | 30 April 2012 8:13 AM

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