Negative pubicity has only limited effect on Wilders
A second week of negative publicity for Geert Wilders' Freedom Party has failed to inflict significant political damage. In the past week, Dutch media managed to dig up further information about the criminal pasts of a number of the party’s MPs. Hero Brinkman was arrested for driving under the influence and it turns out that Eric Lucassen, who was convicted for illicit sexual acts with a subordinate when he was an army instructor, has serious financial problems. However, a weekly poll conducted by pollster Maurice de Hond shows Mr Wilders' party losing just one seat, compared to last week's loss of three.
If elections were held today, the Freedom Party PVV would win 27 seats, three more than its current number of MPs. The conservative VVD - which together with the Christian Democratic CDA forms the current minority government that relies on the PVV's parliamentary support for a one-vote majority - also lost one seat compared to last week, but the 35 seats in Sunday's poll are still four more than the number it won in the latest elections.
The CDA is at 17 seats, one more than last week. The Christian Democrats currently hold 21 seats in parliament. The Labour Party also gained one seat, from 16 to 17 seats, but is still down 13 compared to the 30 seats it won in the June elections.
The Socialist Party is at 18 seats, one down from last week and three more than its current number of MPs. There were no changes for the democrat party D66 13, Green Left 13 Christian Union 6 and the Orthodox Christian party SGP 2. The Animal Rights Party went from one to two seats, the same number it currently holds in parliament.
The Maurice de Hond poll is held via the internet among 2,500 people out of a total of 40,000 who registered as members of a panel. The poll is held on Fridays and Saturdays.
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