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EU election opens in Netherlands

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EU election opens in Netherlands


Along with voters in the UK the Dutch have started heading to the polls today for the European elections. Almost 13 million people are eligible to elect the 25 Dutch MEPs to Strasbourg.

The debate on whether Europe should have less or more power remains a key issue for some voters. “Separate states must have, must have their own rights, their own parliaments so Europe shouldn’t be too strong,’‘ said one man. In 2004, turnout was a mere 39 percent, and worryingly this time round things are expected to be no different. A recent poll gave the Christian Democrats of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende 14 percent of the vote. The CDA’s governing coalition partner, the Labour party of Wauter Bos, is thought to be polling at 12 percent. However many people are wavering – some 18 percent are still undecided. That could open the door for the controversial Freedom party leader Geert Wilders. Campaigning on an anti-immigration, anti-European platform he is calling for a referendum on the EU Lisbon treaty. The Dutch government expects to release preliminary results from the vote on Thursday. More than 375 million people across the EU are registered to take party in the four days of voting, which ends on Sunday, but opinion polls suggest fewer than half of them will vote.

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