Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Thom de Graaf has resigned, prompting speculation about possible early elections.
His departure, after his electoral reform bill was defeated in parliament, puts a strain on Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s government.
The premier maintains that his centre-right coalition is not in danger and he is set to shed more light on the affair at a news conference later today after a weekly cabinet meeting.
However, it is the last thing he needs in the current political climate.
A recent opinion poll showed a swing towards left-wing opposition parties and away from the ruling coalition.
The administration has faced protests from unions and students over public spending cutbacks.