Public give Balkenende II thumbs down

19th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — Public confidence in the centre-right coalition government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende continues to linger at an historic low, a new opinion poll finds.

19 May 2005

AMSTERDAM — Public confidence in the centre-right coalition government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende continues to linger at an historic low, a new opinion poll finds.

The coalition, Balkenende's second, consists of his Christian Democrats (CDA), the Liberals (VVD) and the small Liberal-Democrat party D66.

Just 19 percent of the 1,071 people questioned between 3 and 8 May for the TNS-Nipo survey said they had a lot of confidence in the government's performance.

In March, public confidence in the coalition was at the absolute historic low of 16 percent.

Remco Frerichs of TNS NIPO said it was interesting that half of the supporters of the VVD who took part in the new poll have little confidence in the government. "The foundation under this Cabinet is very shaky," he said.

He said since the political crisis sparked by the defeat of the D66 plan to introduce direct elections for mayors, confidence in the government has hardly increased at all.

Frerichs said Balkenende's cabinet has a difficult message to sell. "It will be a difficult job to win back the lost confidence," he said.

He does not expect Balkenende's government to achieve the level attained by former prime minister Wim Kok who enjoyed an average of 40 percent public confidence from 1998 to 2002.

Balkenende's government is campaigning for a 'yes vote' in the consultative referendum on the EU constitution on 1 June.

Frerichs said it could be fatal for the cabinet if the public votes against the constitution and could cost the ministers their jobs.

The scorn of the opposition supporters is one of the lesser worries for the coalition.

"CDA supporters still believe profoundly in the government, but D66 people have long since given up hope and even half of the Liberals supporters have no more faith [in the government]," Frerichs said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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