Today is polling day in the Netherlands. As the general populace attempts to shrug of its characteristic insouciance and summon up the resolve to make a choice of party, the political map of the country remains shrouded in clouds of suspicious smoke.
Latest projections are predicting a return to government for the Christian Democrats (CDA) with 43 seats while the opposition Labour party might achieve as many as 38.
Yet these figures are misleading. An alleged 40% of the country are undecided and the Socialist party are said to be making a better than predicted showing.
The possibilities are – that traditional Labour voters will defect en masse, splitting the opposition and giving the CDA a free hand. Alternatively, an opposition coalition could make for a hung parliament.
But for the Jan in the street, the issues of major concern have been addressed by all parties in much the same way.
According to several national news outlets, the only topics to have finally elicited a “Thank you very much, but no more please, thank you very much” from the electorate are Muslim extremism and immigration.
Following the murders of Theo van Gogh (film maker) and Pim Fortuyn (MP) by bicycle riding jihadists, ordinary Dutchmen were left stamping their cloggs in fury.
Now, all the major parties have called for Muslim ‘integration’ rather then their trademark multiculturalism.
Both the governing CDA and Labour have signed up to what could broadly be termed a conservative plan of action, recently both moving to banning the burqa and other face covering clothing.
In face of such consensus the election could yet turn in most any direction.
Polls close this evening at 8pm GMT. The final result is due to be announced “Thursday sometime, maybe Friday. Who knows?”