Dutch government unlikely to get senate majority: exit poll

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The rightist Dutch government, backed by an anti-Islam party, is unlikely to get the majority it needs to pass laws through the veto-wielding senate, an exit poll from provincial elections said Wednesday.

The poll, conducted by the Synovate market research company, gave 35 out of 75 senate seats to the pro-business, liberal party (VVD), its governing alliance partner the Christian Democratic Action, and the Party for Freedom (PVV) of controversial anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders.

In an unusually closely watched election for the country's 12 provincial councils, voters on Wednesday chose 566 deputies who will be charged in turn with electing, along party lines, the upper house of parliament, or senate, on May 23.

The VVD-CDA minority government that came to power in national elections last June already relies on an unstable pact with Wilders's PVV to pass laws through the 150-seat lower house.

It now needs majority support in the senate to pursue its rightist programme of budget cuts and tougher immigration measures backed by the PVV but much maligned by the opposition.

© 2011 AFP

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