A strong performance in two televised debates this week has placed the Labour party just one seat behind the Socialists in a new poll, leading some pundits to suggest the Netherlands could be heading for a new ‘purple’ coalition.
After being largely written off earlier in the campaign, the new Ipsos Synovate barometer says the PvdA is on target to win 26 out of 150 seats in parliament at the September 12 election. This is four up on last week and just one behind the SP, which is down three.
The improvement in Labour’s fortunes is due in part to leader Diederik Samsom, who has been widely acknowledged as the winner of the two debates so far.
The Financieele Dagblad notes that Samsom is slowly reinventing himself.
‘He no longer shaves his head every day and has started wearing a tie,’ the paper says. ‘As a bridge builder between Roemer on the left and Rutte on the right, for viewers he represents the reasonable middle ground.’
Samsom may also have been helped by name-calling accusations of lying between the two biggest parties, pundits say. Nevertheless, the right-wing ruling VVD remain the biggest party in the Synovate poll on 34.
The poll results may indicate there is enough support for a prospective three-party coalition involving the VVD, PvdA and the Liberal democrats D66. Their combined total in this poll is 74, just two short of an overall majority.
A purple cabinet – so called because of the mix of party colours – ran the Netherlands from 1994 to 2002.
The likelihood of a coalition involving both the VVD and SP is extremely small. Both VVD leader Mark Rutte and SP chief Emile Roemer have made it clear they will not help the other to form a majority. ‘I am not going to help form a right-wing coalition. The Netherlands has to choose,’ Roemer is quoted as saying in the NRC.
A strong Labour party would then become a vital coalition partner for either side.
Meanwhile, ChristenUnie leader Arie Slob has put himself forward as a possible negotiator to try to put together a coalition after the vote in 11 days time. Parliament earlier this year voted to remove the queen from the formation process but a new system has not yet been put in place.
As the longest-serving MP of all the party leaders, Slob said he would be the ideal candidate to offset the risk of a long and chaotic formation process.
Source: Dutch News, Saturday 01 September 2012