Dutch politicians offer gay voters an online election date

AMSTERDAM Wed Mar 5, 2014 2:30pm GMT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Two Amsterdam local politicians have uploaded their profiles to online gay dating site Grindr to try and pick up votes for their liberal party ahead of elections later this month.

"We are very fond of new technology and new media," Jan-Bert Vroege, an openly gay candidate for the D66 party, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We are also into making Amsterdam a lively gay destination - and using Grindr we can get that message to all the gay people of Amsterdam."

Vroege's Grindr profile asks "Have I got a date with you on March 19?" but he stresses he is only offering chats, not dates. His profile says he is 37, 1.82 meters (5ft 12 inches) tall, weighs 76 kilograms (168 lbs) and has a partner.

D66 is a progressive opposition party which was an early proponent of liberal policies in the Netherlands, including gay marriage, euthanasia and drug tolerance. It ranked third in the most recent national opinion polls.

Dutch voters will be asked to elect candidates in municipal elections on March 19.

Fellow D66 candidate Pieter Rietman, who is openly bisexual, has also uploaded a smiling photo onto Grindr, which uses mobile phones' positions to find like-minded potential mates in the user's vicinity.

"We've been doing this for two days, and in the first night I got 35 connections ... People thought this was a great way to bring attention to the elections and D66," said Vroege.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Sophie Hares)

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