THE HAGUE, March. 1 (Xinhua) -- Two weeks before the Dutch general elections, polls on Wednesday show a decline for right-wing populist Party for Freedom (PVV), although party leader Geert Wilders remains in front.
According to poll aggregator Peilingwijzer, the liberal party VVD surpassed the PVV to take the first place, estimated to win 23-27 parliamentary seats. Twenty-eight parties are vying for the 150 seats in the lower house of the Dutch Parliament.
The VVD, the party of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has been stable in the polls for months, but the PVV dropped in recent months.
The PVV, riding the anti-immigration sentiment in the country, was predicted in December to win 31-36 seats, but its poll performance has been declining since then.
Polling firm I&O Research named a remark by Rutte in mid-January as one of the reasons for the decline. The VVD leader said that "the probability that the VVD will govern with the PVV is zero."
Potential PVV voters might not be willing to vote for a party which has no chance of governing, because all other parties of importance excluded a possible coalition with the PVV.
Both Rutte and Wilders withdrew from last Sunday's first major election debate on TV, in Amsterdam. Both parties thought that broadcaster RTL had violated a previous agreement on the number of participants in the so- called prime ministers debate.
The original idea was a debate between the leaders of the four biggest parties. However, RTL decided to invite more party leaders.