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EDITIONS
 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 10:33 GMT
Politicians move on with handhelds
Dutch election posters
Posters: A more traditional way of reaching voters
Dutch politicians have been issued with wireless handhelds in the hope that the communication devices will help in the forthcoming elections.

One hundred Blackberry handhelds have been given to leading politicians and campaign workers from the Dutch CDA (Christian Democratic) party.

The devices will mean the would-be MPs can be online 24 hours a day and access their e-mail wherever they are on the campaign trail.

Issuing the politicians with a Blackberry handheld means that important information can be sent to everyone at the touch of a button, allowing campaign managers to keep candidates on-message.

Using dead time

"Being able to react to and agree on things rapidly is essential," Dutch Premier and leader of the CDA Jan Peter Balkenende told the De Telegraaf newspaper.

Dutch Premier Jan Peter Balkenende
Premier Balkenende found his Blackberry useful
"Election time means that you are on the road from the first thing in the morning to last thing at night. While travelling and in between speeches a lot of time is lost.

"Thanks to the Blackberry this dead time can now be made productive," he added.

Research in Motion, manufacturers of the Blackberry handhelds, said British MPs could learn valuable lessons from the Dutch use of wireless devices.

A survey done by FaxYourMP.com found that many UK MPs were not responding to constituent's e-mails and faxes.

"Given that MPs have such busy schedules, providing them with secure mobile access to their e-mail and calendar wherever they are could significantly improve their response rate by enabling them to make better use of any spare time during the working day," said Tilly Quanjer, RIM's Public Relations Manager.

The Dutch national elections take place on 22 January.

See also:

27 Dec 02 | Politics
17 Dec 02 | Technology
22 Aug 02 | Politics
24 Sep 01 | dot life
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