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Europe

Dutch Whistleblower Makes it to European Parliament

Famous Dutch whistleblower Paul van Buitenen swept into the European Parliament after European elections in the Netherlands Thursday.

Contrary to what polls had predicted, the anti-corruption candidate Paul van Buitenen, who contended for the first time, gained two seats (7.3 percent of the votes). As European Commission assistant auditor, Van Buitenen became famous in 1998 for exposing fraud and mismanagement within EU institutions, which ultimately led to the fall of the Santer Commission in the spring of 1999. "I return to Brussels with a smile", Van Buitenen said reacting to the results. He interpreted the voters' message as a mandate to confront mismanagement in Brussels, rather than a vote against the EU itself. "I will start to clean up things over there, because the people do not deserve the administration that is in place". Meanwhile, the governing centre-right coalition suffered a major blow, with all three coalition parties losing seats. The Christian Democrats, the party of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, led the field but its percentage of votes dropped by 2.4 points to 24.5 percent and were almost taken over by the opposition Labor Party, which polled 23.6 percent. (EUobserver.com)

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