Labour leader Diederick Samsom emerged the clear winner from Sunday night’s television debate between the leaders of the four biggest parties.
Almost 52% of the 10,000 viewers who voted said Samsom was the strongest in the debate, with outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte, who leads the right-wing VVD, coming second with almost 34%.
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration PVV took 9% and Socialist Party chief Emile Roemer just 5.7%.
The SP is the biggest party in three of the four main opinion polls, followed by the VVD. The vote takes place on September 12.
According to the Volkskrant, Samsom also emerged as the winner in an analysis of Twitter messages about the debate.
Roderik van Grieken, director of the Dutch debating institute, told news agency ANP Samsom presented himself much more as an alternative to Rutte than the other two.
Rutte was the target of most criticism but kept his end up, Van Grieken is quoted as saying.
NOS analyst Ron Fresen said the debate showed the election is about a lot more than a two-way fight between the VVD and SP. The Netherlands has a divided political landscape and ‘don’t write-off Labour,’ Fresen said.
The four leaders get one minute to outline their positions.
The four leaders debate the economy.
The debate in 11 clips
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