AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Support in the Netherlands for the five parties that back budget cuts to meet EU targets has fallen sharply over the past month and below the level needed to form a government after elections in September, a poll showed on Sunday.
The euro zone’s fifth-largest economy has been one of Germany’s most committed allies in pushing for euro zone fiscal discipline, but that was thrown into doubt by the collapse of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right government last month.
Although the Dutch coalition fell apart when it failed to reach an agreement on budget cuts, Rutte was still able to push those through with the backing of the two parties in his caretaker government and three small opposition parties.
Those five parties would win 66 seats in the 150-member lower house of parliament, down from 76 last month, a new Maurice de Hond poll showed. The election is set for September 12.
The voter shift against austerity echoes a recent trend in elections in other euro zone countries, including France and Greece.
Rutte’s Liberal Party appeared to have lost support to Wilders’ populist Freedom Party. The previous coalition fell apart when Wilders’ anti-euro, anti-Islam party pulled out of budget talks.
The left-wing Socialist Party, which also opposes austerity, would be the biggest party, with 30 seats, the poll showed.
The Freedom Party would have 25 seats, the Liberals would have 24 seats, while Labour, which also opposed the budget deal, was down two seats to 21.
The poll suggested any government formed after the elections is likely to be fragmented and able to command only a slim parliamentary majority, further lowering the chances of pushing through spending cuts.
Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Matthew Tostevin