Dutch Liberals, Labor neck and neck ahead of election: poll

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 07, 2012 1:34 PM
Dutch Liberals, Labor neck and neck ahead of election: poll

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Two political parties in the Netherlands that backed euro zone bailouts are neck and neck in the polls ahead of a parliamentary election next week dominated by the continent's debt crisis and austerity measures, a survey showed on Friday.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's fiscally conservative Liberal Party is narrowly in the lead and would win 33 seats in the 150-seat parliament, the Maurice de Hond poll found - unchanged from a de Hond poll on Thursday.

The Labor Party, which is pro-euro but opposes tough austerity measures, has surged in popularity in the past two weeks and would win 32 seats - up from 30 seats in Thursday's poll.

The two pro-European parties, which have been partners in previous governments, could form a center-right coalition with the support of just one other party such as the socially liberal Democrats 66 party, analysts have said.

Some analysts have speculated that Labor could still take the lead and win the most seats in Wednesday's election.

Labor has gained at the expense of the hard-left Socialist Party after the strong performance of its leader, Diederik Samsom, in a series of televised debates.

Samsom was voted the winner of each of the TV debates, while Socialist Party leader Emile Roemer was criticized as coming across as lightweight and unsure.

More than 4,000 people were questioned in Friday's nationwide poll.

(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Pravin Char)