Even the Dutch are getting excited
`Catholic Herald' Netherlands Correspondent
T T is unusual for a political meeting in the Netherlands to be disturbed by the throwing of fireworks, to have the light cut off at the main during an election speech by the Prime Minister or to see party posters destroyed. The Dutch do not get as a rule so much worked up by an election.
But those things have been happening during the past few weeks.
These occasional " outbursts " of political " passion " show that more than usual interest is being taken in the general election poll on June 13, especially by young
The greater keenness is also particularly evident among Catholic voters: the meetings of the Catholic People's Party have already been attended by more than 500,000 people.
The question is: Will the Catholic People's Party beat the Labour Party?
Each party at present holds 30 parliamentary seats out of a total of 100.
The prospects are not unfavourable for the Catholic People's Party since the small dissenting Catholic Party of the former London War Cabinet Minister Welter has merged with the C.P.P. There is also the increased strength and active participation of the young Catholic Party members which has been a great stimulus in the party as a whole.
These elections will also show whether the Bishops' call for political unity in their pastoral letter of May 1, 1954, dealing with the role of the Netherlands Catholics in public life, will have had its effect on the Catholic electorate. According to the Netherlands institute for Public Opinion, the Labour Party drew seven per cent. of its votes from the Catholic voters.
Should the Catholic People's Party head the poll on June 13 it is very likely that the next Prime Minister will be a Catholic. He would take over from the present Labour Premier, Dr. Drees.
Whether in that event Prof. C. P. M. Romme, who for some years has led the party in Parliament, will accept the Premiership if it is offered to him by The Queen is a question to which only Prof. Romme knows the answer. Much will depend on the possibility of finding a suitable successor to nim as leader of the party in the House.
Will the Communists—who, after the rather high number of 10 seats in the first Parliament after the war in 1946, were reduced to six in 1952—have a further setback? The results of provincial elections seem to point in that direction, but it may be, of course, that the present playing-soft policy and peace campaign of B. and K. will halt a further decline.