Voting is underway in one of the most eagerly anticipated local elections in the Netherlands.
It is the first test of public opinion since Jan Peter Balkenende’s coalition government collapsed 10 days ago, and the outcome is being closely watched for clues as to whether a general election is three months can produce a stable goverment.
Wouter Bos’s Labour party is expected to do well because of its opposition to keeping troops in Afghanistan.
Attention is also on Geert Wilders’ far-right Freedom Party which is contesting locally for the first time after its strong showing in the European elections.
The government’s collapse, the fourth for a cabinet led by Balkenende in eight years, comes at a time when the Netherlands faces tough decisions over its economy and budget cuts.
Campaigning also been dominated by issues such as immigration and security.