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No party likely to win a majority as Netherlands heads into elections

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Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Photo: Getty Images

Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Photo: Getty Images

Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Photo: Getty Images

As the Netherlands heads for early elections, the latest opinion polls show no single party will win a majority, increasing the risk that it could take months for a new coalition to be formed.

Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose centre-right coalition has been in power since October 2010, said on Saturday that crucial talks on budget cuts had collapsed and new elections were likely.

Mr Rutte's Liberals (VVD) would win 33 seats in the 150-seat parliament, up from 31, followed by the eurosceptic Socialist Party (SP) with 30 seats and the pro-Europe Labour Party (PvdA) with 24 seats, a poll by Maurice de Hond showed on Sunday.

Mr Rutte's coalition partner, the Christian Democrats (CDA), and Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) -- his main ally until Saturday when Mr Wilders refused to do a budget deal -- have both slipped in the polls and would win 11 and 19 seats respectively.

Other polls, conducted before the budget talks' failure, also showed no party would win a majority.

Irish Independent