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Date: 9 June 2010

Main issues:: The elections followed the collapse of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's fourth coalition government in February 2010, due to disagreement over continuing the Dutch military involvement in Afghanistan.

The succeeding election campaing focused on budget cuts (shortly before the 2010 elections, the country's Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis announced that 29 billion euros would have to be cut from public spending by 2015). The leftist parties - the PvdA, the SP and the Green Left - promised to cut defence spending while increasing taxes for people with higher incomes. But they also argued that too radical cuts would diminish people's spending power and increase unemployment, consequently threatening economic recovery.

The parties on the right - VVD, PVV and Mr. Balkenende's CDA - pledged more even spending cuts, mainly by cutting spending on the civil service and social security. The VVD and the CDA argued that the government needed to implement radical measures so as to prevent the country from going bankrupt.

The pre-election debate also focused on immigration. The VVD promised a reduction in benefits for immigrants while the PVV pledged to restrict immigration. In March 2010, the PVV made major gains in local elections, advocating a ban on Muslim headscarves in public places. The PvdA was reportedly drawing support from immigrants thanks to its new leader, Mr. Job Cohen, who had been popular among the immigrant community while serving as Amsterdam Mayor.

Outcome: As in the 2006 elections, no party secured a majority in 2010. The final results gave 31 seats to the VVD and 30 to the PvdA. The PVV came in third with 24 seats, while the CDA took 21 seats. Talks on the formation of a new government are still going on (September 2010). Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende stepped down from his position in the CDA and resigned his parliamentary seat on the evening of the election, saying he was taking "political responsibility" for the unsatisfactory election results of his party. He remains the head of the caretaker government.

Election results 2010, main parties. NUTS 2


Inter-Parliamentary Union, PARLINE database on national parliaments

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