Dutch Socialists Lead in Polls Ahead of Rutte’s Liberal Party

The Dutch Socialist Party, headed by former school teacher Emile Roemer, is leading in a poll by seven seats ahead of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal Party, before early elections set for Sept. 12.

Roemer’s Socialists would get 37 seats, up from 35 seats last week and more than double the 15 seats it has now, market research company TNS-NIPO said in a survey published on its website today. Rutte’s Liberal VVD would get 30 seats, down from 31, while its coalition partner, the Christian Democratic Alliance, would get 16 seats, five less than it has now. The poll surveyed 1,557 people Aug. 3-7 and has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

The Socialists want the Netherlands to meet its euro budget deficit limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2015 -- not 2013 as targeted by the present government -- and it prefers a broader mandate for the European Central Bank. More government spending is needed to help the economy while drastic budget cuts will harm the economy, according to the party’s program.

Elections were called after Rutte submitted his Cabinet’s resignation on April 23 as Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party withdrew support for spending cuts and tax increases. After that, investors demanded as much as 79 basis points of extra yield to lend to the Netherlands for 10 years rather than to Germany, the highest premium in three years. The Dutch economy may contract by 0.75 percent this year, according to the government planning agency CPB.

German Ruling

The Dutch elections take place the same day as the German Federal Constitutional Court rules on the 500 billion-euro ($617 billion) European Stability Mechanism.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s proposal to consider ECB purchases of government debt in tandem with Europe’s rescue fund in return for strict conditions has failed to calm bond markets. Spain and Italy, the countries at the heart of the debt crisis that emanated from Greece, haven’t asked for aid.

Wilders, campaigning on an anti-Europe platform, would get 18 seats from the 20 that remain after four of his members quit the party while staying on in parliament since the 2010 vote. The Labor Party stands at 17 seats, down 13 seats from 2010, according to TNS-NIPO.

Roemer’s party is two seats ahead of Rutte’s VVD at 34 seats, according to another poll published Aug. 5 by Maurice de Hond. A survey by polling company Ipsos Synovate gives the VVD the top spot with 35 seats, six more than the Socialists. That poll was published July 27.

It has taken an average of almost three months to set up a coalition in the Netherlands since World War II while the formation of the Rutte cabinet in 2010 took four months.

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