The far-right anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders has made big gains in Dutch local elections indicating he could become a major player in June’s national poll.
Standing in only two cities he won Almere and came second significantly in the seat of government, The Hague.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenender’s Christian Democrats, the CDA appear to have lost ground.
This local ballot is the first test of public opinion since his coalition government collapsed less than two weeks ago.
Analysts believe if the voting pattern is reproduced at a national level the CDA could lose up to 12 seats with Wilders’ right wingers more than doubling theirs.
The Labour Party has also come up short despite having been expected to profit on its stance in wanting the country’s troops withdrawn from Afghanistan.
Other parties which had a good night were social liberals – D66 and the Greens.