Polls open as the Netherlands votes in crucial elections for cabinet

The Netherlands goes to the polls on Wednesday to elect some 200 members for the country’s 12 provincial councils in what the Volkskrant says are ‘the most exciting provincial elections ever’.

Polling stations are open until 21.00 hours and experts hope the neck-and-neck nature of the race will lead to a strong turnout.
The results of the provincial vote is to determine the make up of the upper house of parliament, or senate, and the coalition government is hoping for a majority in order to be able to pass controversial legislation on education cuts and social security reform.
Tight result
The latest polls say the result is too close to call. The internet poll from Maurice de Hond puts the coalition alliance – the VVD, CDA and PVV – on 37 out of 75 senate seats. TNS Nipo gives the alliance 37 or 38 and Synovate’s latest political barometer 34.
The CDA currently has 21 seats in the senate but that is likely to be more than halved. The VVD has 14 and is forecast to increase that slightly. The PVV is making its debut but is set to win around 10 or 11 seats, the same as the PvdA (Labour).
Prime minister Mark Rutte has made an urgent appeal to government supporters to get out and vote. It will be ‘extremely difficult’ for the coalition to realise some of its aims without the necessary majority.
The CDA result is expected to be ‘disastrous’ in their traditional bastions of Brabant and Limburg.
Pollster de Hond told the paper the prime minister has a problem in attracting new voters because he does not attract votes from the left. ‘They think he is a good prime minister but oppose the indirect support from the PVV,’ De Hond told the paper.
For more on the provincial elections, click here
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