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Dutch Elections: PM’s Party Beaten Over Budgets And Migration …

  • June 10th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

amsterdam-ndedu.jpgDutch elections (9.6.10) have seen the outgoing government party, the Christian Democrats, take heavy losses, with prospects of an ill-fitting coalition to follow.

In awkward historical times for incumbents, the party headed by prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende came in fourth with a projected 21 seats so far, behind the Labour Party (31 seats), the right-wing liberal VVD (31 also) and the anti-immigration Freedom Party (23) – in a parliament of 150.

In debates over the current economic stress in Europe, the VVD objected to government budget deficits running to 6.3% of GDP, saying budget cuts were needed to make it cheaper for the state to borrow money.

The Labour Party, lacking the same ideological commitment to lop government spending, said severe cutting back would block-off the recovery from recession during 2008-9.

The VVD took a not-so-liberal line on the burning subsidiary issue, in the Netherlands, of immigration; saying its austerity moves would include reduced benefits for migrants.

However as the poll outcome is showing, main rewards in that area have gone to the more expressly anti-immigration Freedom Party.

Anti-immigration campaigners have argued that generous migration laws, in keeping with a tradition of tolerance, have gone wrong, and invoked a great shift in national identity — from windmills and Rembrandt, to drug-dealers and Islamic militancy.

The election  was brought on early by the collapse of  the previous coalition government, when one member, the Labour Party, refused to extend the Dutch military commitment to Afghanistan, (see EUAustralia, 21.2.10, “Afghanistan: Dutch partners moving out …”).

Picture  Amsterdam,