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Dutch to Vote in Key Provincial Polls

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TEHRAN, March 2 (ICANA)- Voters in the Netherlands are heading to polls to participate in provincial elections that test the government's ability to gain a crucial senate majority.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 8:07:54 PM
Dutch to Vote in Key Provincial Polls

The polls, which opened on Wednesday, will elect regional councilors that will then select senate members on May 23.

The fate of the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte will remain unclear if he fails to win a majority in the senate, AFP reported.

In the closely supervised elections for the nation's 12 provincial councils, the 13-million Dutch citizens eligible to vote are to choose 566 deputies who are then charged with electing, along party lines, the 75-member upper house of parliament, or senate.

Nearly 30 parties are to contest in Wednesday's elections.

A minority rightist government that came to power last June, the pro-business VVD and Christian Democratic CDA, rely on an alliance with Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic Party for Freedom, PVV, to pass bills into law through the 150-seat lower house.

The minority rightist government now needs majority seats, or 38 votes, in the senate to pass its rightist draft bills such as budget cuts and tougher immigration measures.

The polls are to remain open until 9:00 pm local time (2000 GMT).

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