Dutch voters go to the polls today in an election that has been heavily influenced by how to deal with the eurozone’s debt crisis.
With a close race predicted, it is not a foregone conclusion that Liberal Party leader Mark Rutte will remain prime minister.
The centre-right politicians’ austerity measures caused the last coalition government to collapse.
This time Rutte’s talking about investing in infrastructure, alongside reducing the deficit.
However, he is also being accused of becoming more eurosceptic in a bid to woo right-wing voters.
Labour leader Diederick Samsom has an even chance of winning, with proposals for increasing spending and creating jobs.
Neither Samsom nor Rutte would be likely to worry German Chancellor Angela Merkel with regard to her approach on how to deal with the crisis, according to political analyst Adriaan Schout fromn the Clingendael Institute.
“The Dutch, and particularly Rutte, have always been pushing Merkel a little bit to the right. That game might change a little bit after the election but not too much, because even with Samsom, the Netherlands is not becoming like (French President Francois) Hollande, so we will remain very close to the Merkel line,” he said.
Influential leader of the Freedom Party Geert Wilders, who brought down the last administration by not supporting Rutte, continues to attack the EU for chipping away Dutch sovereignty.
His anti-Islamic, eurosceptic party is predicted to lose five seats, but this may not happen as many people do not admit to voting for his party.