Friday 5 June 2009

Dutch Labour falls to third

The Dutch are not observing the prohibition on releasing exit poll projections from the European elections until all other countries have voted. Europe's first results are bad news for the centre-left and good news for the hard right.

The Freedom Party of Geert Wilders - campaigning on an anti-Islam, anti-immigration and Eurosceptic ticket under the slogan 'More Netherlands, Less Europe' - has finished second with 15.4 per cent, behind the governing Christian Democrats on 20.3%
The Freedom Party expect to take four seats

Labour is the junior partner in a grand coalition, and the party has been hit hardest in the European poll, with its vote falling sharply to 13.4%, down almost 10 points.

Labour leader Wouter Bos, who is Finance Minister, is a liberal moderniser. He has been closely involved with the Policy Network international group, though gave an interesting speech last year about how the modernising approach needed to be rethought to counter the fragmentation of the social democratic vote - arguing the need to be less academic and more populist, and more aware of the tensions between modernisation and traditional voter base.

The Times quotes Bos saying of the results:

"The parties that lost the most were those who supported Europe... who defended Europe against a lot of scepticism. It appears that the voters found that unconvincing."

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