A difficult and lengthy battle to form a coalition government. That is what the Netherlands faces after elections that saw many voters deserting centrist parties for the far left and right. Incumbent Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s Christian Democrats won the most seats, but not a majority. He said: “It’s a very complicated outcome … complicated results, so it will really take some time to find solutions, but at this moment we’re better off more or less to have a party, with people from my party, because we’re very happy with the result.”
Labour’s leader Wouter Bos saw much of his party’s support move to the far-left Socialists, who came in third place, ahead of a liberal party that has been a coalition partner. The Christian Democrats won 41 seats in the 150-seat parliament, Labour 32 and the Socialists 26. The Liberal VVD party is said to have lost ground to the new anti-immigration PVV party.
Balkenende’s current coalition does not have enough seats to govern, and neither does a Labour-led coalition with the Socialists and the Greens. Observers do not rule out a coalition that includes the far-right party of Geert Wilders. Wilders said: “The message was to speak clearly, to speak honestly about issues we have in the Netherlands, not just with high taxes and high crime, but with the problems we face with the multi-cultural society, with the Islamisation of the Netherlands, and I said, well, there is enough islam in the Netherlands.” Analysts say the Christian Democrats and Labour could try to form an uneasy coalition, but they would still need to link up with another party.