Labour leader Diederik Samsom was judged the winner of the second television debate of the election campaign by both viewers and experts on Thursday night.
Samsom took 40% of the viewers’ vote, followed by Mark Rutte, prime minister and leader of the right-wing VVD, with 23%.
Samsom was also declared the winner of the first debate last weekend.
Emile Roemer, leader of the Socialist Party, managed to toughen up his performance in this debate, following the weekend’s poor showing which led to a sharp drop in SP support.
‘But he should be standing there as the alternative prime minister, and he is not,’ debating expert Roderick van Grieken told news agency ANP. Most pundits believe the next prime minister will either be Rutte or Roemer.
Two opinion polls since the first debate show a drop of eight and four seats in support for the SP, while Labour has benefited from Samsom’s strong showing.
During the debate, Samsom attacked Rutte for not being honest and told him to stop spreading lies about Labour’s plans for the economy and corporate taxes.
During the last debate, Roemer and Rutte clashed over what Roemer called Rutte’s lies about the VVD’s health insurance plans.
‘People must be able to count on one thing. We have to tell the truth,’ Samsom said.
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