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De Volkskrant - Netherlands | Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rutte's government needs opposition

The Dutch will elect new provincial parliaments today, Wednesday. These parliaments' MPs will then elect the First Chamber of the national parliament in May. According to the polls the governing coalition between conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the social democratic Labour Party is facing heavy losses. Cooperation with the opposition will therefore remain a necessity, the left-liberal daily De Volkskrant concludes: "The division of the political landscape is a permanent phenomenon that requires a political culture of pragmatic dualism. That works for pushing through reform programmes. ... But if it was up to the PVV [led by right-wing populist Geert Wilders] and the [socialist] SP the government would have to step down tomorrow and call new elections. Other opposition parties are against this. That's understandable. The dualism gives them scope to have their say on the policies and take the initiative. This is more advantageous than a government crisis in times that are still very difficult economically."

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