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Dutch Deputy PM quits

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Dutch Deputy PM quits

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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.