The Parliament

THE CABINET

Prime Minister and Minister for General Affairs: Mr Mark Rutte (VVD)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Wellbeing & Sport: Mr Hugo de Jonge (CDA)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture, Nature & Food Safety: Carola Schouten (CU)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs & Relations with the Kingdom: Ms Kajsa Ollongren (D66)

Minister for Finance (Treasurer): Mr Wopke Hoekstra (CDA)
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Mr Stef Blok (VVD)
Minister for Trade & International Development): Ms Sigrid Kaag (D66)
Minister for Defence: Ms Ank Bijleveld (CDA)
Minister for Economic Affairs & Climate: Mr Eric Wiebes (VVD)
Minister for Justice & Security: Mr Ferdinand Grapperhaus (CDA)
Minister for Justice & Security (Justice): Mr Sander Dekker (VVD)
Minister for Social Affairs & Employment: Mr Wouter Koolmees (D66)
Minister for Infrastructure & Water: Ms Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (VVD)
Minister for Health Care & Sport: Ms Tamara van Ark (VVD)
Minister for Education, Culture & Science: Ms Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66)
Minister for Primary & Secondary Education and Media: Mr Arie Slob (CU)

Secretary for Social Affairs & Employment: Mr Bas van ‘t Wout (VVD)
Secretary for Finance (Fiscal Matters & the Tax Office): Mr Hans Vijlbrief (D66)
Secretary for Finance (Allowances & Customs): Ms Alexandra van Huffelen (D66)
Secretary for Defence: Ms Barbara Visser (VVD)
Secretary for Internal Affairs & Relations with the Kingdom: Mr Raymond Knops (CDA)
Secretary for Justice & Security: Ms Ankie Broekers-Knol (VVD)
Secretary for Economic Affairs & Climate: Ms Mona Keijzer (CDA)
Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport: Mr Paul Blokhuis (CU)
Secretary for Infrastructure & Water: Ms Stientje van Veldhoven (D66)

All levels of government in the Netherlands are elected through a type of proportional representation known as the d’Hondt method. The Dutch use a variant on pure d’Hondt, but to put it simply, if a party has 10% of the votes, it will end up with 10% of the seats in any given parliament/council. The method for determining the final seats once no party has a full quota is more complex than that, though. In the meantime, below is a breakdown of the national and parliament by party.

TWEEDE KAMER – 150 members (term from 2017 to 2021)

VVD: 32
PVV: 20
CDA: 19
D66: 19
GroenLinks: 14
SP: 14
PvdA: 9
ChristenUnie: 5
Partij voor de Dieren: 4
50Plus: 3
SGP: 3
Denk: 3
Forum voor Democratie: 3
Krol: 1
Van Kooten-Arissen: 1

As is usually the case these days, the configuration of the Tweede Kamer shifts as MPs switch parties. In this term, VVD MPs Wybrand van Haga was thrown out of the party towards the end of 2019 after a drink driving change and multiple allegations of ignoring conflicts of interest in business dealings. He sat as an independent before eventually joining FvD in late 2020. Henk Krol was originally elected as the lead candidate for 50Plus; he departed in early 2020 after a bout of infighting, taking Femke Merel van Kooten-Arissen, who was originally a PvdD MP before defecting to 50Plus in mid 2020. Krol and van Kooten-Arissen started a new party together, Partij voor de Toekomst (Party for the Future), but have since parted ways and now sit independently.

Each party has a parliamentary caucus leader (officially their “chairperson”), even those in the government. The Dutch system sets up a division between the cabinet and the parliament. Any MP who is appointed to the cabinet must forfeit their seat in parliament, and ministers can be appointed from outside parliament. The idea behind this is that the cabinet has to convince their own MPs to pass its bills, rather than just replying on the fact that they are all MPs as well.

The cabinet sits in the Tweede Kamer on benches facing the MPs, who sit in a semi-circle. In between the two is a bench with microphones, where MPs gather to ask the cabinet questions. For a picture of the Tweede Kamer, click here. The bench to the right in the photo is where the cabinet sits, while the bench on the left is where the speaker presides.

The parliamentary party leaders in the Tweede Kamer are currently:

VVD: Mr Klaas Dijkhof
PVV: Mr Geert Wilders
CDA: Mr Pieter Heerma
D66: Mr Rob Jetten
GroenLinks: Mr Jesse Klaver
SP: Ms Lillian Marijnissen
PvdA: Mr Lodewijk Asscher
ChristenUnie: Mr Gert Jan Segers
Partij voor de Dieren: Ms Esther Ouwehand
SGP: Mr Kees van der Staaij
50Plus: Ms Corrie van Brenk
Denk: Mr Farid Azarkan
Forum voor Democratie: Mr Thierry Baudet

EERSTE KAMER – 75 members (term from 2019 to 2023)

VVD: 12
CDA: 9
GroenLinks: 8
D66: 7
Van Paren: 7
PvdA: 6
PVV: 5
SP: 4
ChristenUnie: 4
PvdD: 3
Otten: 3
50Plus: 2
SGP: 2
FvD: 2
OSF: 1

The Eerste Kamer is elected indirectly via the members of the 12 provincial parliaments via a complex weighting system to account for population discrepancies. It can only amend or reject bills sent to it from the Tweede Kamer, not introduce its own.

In addition to the usual parties, the Van Paren and Otten groups are made up of defectors from the Forum voor Democratie (FvD), which won 12 seats at the 2019 elections.

The OSF (Independent Senate Bloc) is an alliance between regional groups across the country, such as the Friesian National Party, the Party of the North, the Party for Zeeland, and several others, most of whom hold at least one seat in their provincial parliaments. As their numbers have traditionally not been strong enough to win more than one seat in the Eerste Kamer, they decide upon a consensus candidate to lead their party list.

One thought on “The Parliament

  1. Pingback: Welcome! | Dutch Politics in English

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