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Leading politicians are weak, Dutch public says

27 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — The public thinks that the heads of the three main parties in the Netherlands are intelligent, but not strong leaders, according to new research.

More than three quarters of the 2,800 people, aged 18 and above, questioned by polling organisation Motivaction said Christian Democrat CDA Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende did not do his work well.

Only 25 percent of the people who took part in the Mentality Monitor survey said Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm would make a good prime minister.

Zalm is the leader of the Liberal VVD party, which is in a coalition government with Balkenende’s CDA and the small Democrat D66.

Opinion was more divided on Wouter Bos, the leader of the main opposition Labour PvdA party. Half of the people polled said he would be a suitable candidate for prime minister and the other half said he would not, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Thursday.

Bos would also be an acceptable house guest it would seem. Some 56 percent said the Labour leader could call around to drink a cup of coffee. Only a little over 25 percent would extend the same courtesy to Balkenende and about 30 percent would welcome Zalm’s company.

The poll’s respondents also suggested neither Balkenende nor Zalm are particularly modern. Only 17 percent said the prime minister was from “this time”, with 30 percent awarding the same accolade to Zalm.

The more youthful Bos scored the best, as 75 percent described him as being modern.

There was more bad news for Balkenende’s spin doctors as only one in 10 respondents said the prime minister was “inspiring”.

Motivaction’s Martijn Lampert suggested the government’s cutbacks figured large in Balkenende’s and Zalm’s negative ratings. He said the public is feeling the influence of government policy in their wallets.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news