Elections in the Netherlands

The Netherlands elects a new parliament on 12 September after the fall of the minority government last April over an austerity budget.

Polls indicate that the race will be close, between the centre-right VVD, headed by the present prime minister Mark Rutte, and the centre-left PvdA. Polls indicate that one in five voters is undecided.

Both of the major parties are pro-European and the main focus has centred on the debate between austerity or stimulus as the best way out of the economic crisis.

There are 12,696,193 voters aged 18 and over and 10,000 polling stations throughout the country. There are also polling stations at some train stations and at Schiphol airport.

There are 21 parties contesting 150 seats, with about 11 of them expected to gain seats in parliament. It is predicted that it may take several months before a new government emerges.