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Dutch Elections Risk Muddying Merkel’s Crisis-Fighting Efforts

Next month’s Dutch elections risk complicating Europe’s efforts to resolve its debt crisis, with the coalition government that emerges likely to reflect both anti-European sentiment and resistance to more austerity.

A third of Dutch voters in the run-up to the Sept. 12 vote back the Socialists, who oppose more spending cuts and refuse to hand over more sovereignty to Europe, or the Freedom Party, which seeks an exit from the European Union and the euro. That will make it tough for caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals to find support from perhaps three or four parties for a majority in parliament and keep cutting the deficit.