The Parliament

The cabinet below is currently in caretaker mode as various parties negotiate with the aim of forming a new coalition by the (European) summer.

Prime Minister and Minister for General Affairs: Mr Mark Rutte (VVD)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs & Employment: Mr Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA)
Minister for Internal Affairs & Relations with the Kingdom: Mr Ronald Plasterk (PvdA)
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Mr Bert Koenders (PvdA)
Minister for Trade & International Development: Ms Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA)
Minister for Defence: Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD)
Minister for Economic Affairs: Mr Henk Kamp (VVD)
Minister for Finance (Treasurer): Mr Jeroen Dijsselbloem (PvdA)
Minister for Infrastructure & the Environment: Ms Melanie Schultz van Haegen (VVD)
Minister for Education, Culture & Science: Ms Jet Bussemaker (PvdA)
Minister for Security & Justice: Mr Stef Blok (VVD)
Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing & Sport: Ms Edith Schippers (VVD)
Secretary for Economic Affairs: Mr Martijn van Dam  (PvdA)
Secretary for Finance: Mr Eric Wiebes (VVD)
Secretary for Infrastructure & the Environment: Ms Sharon Dijksma (PvdA)
Secretary for Education, Culture & Science: Mr Sander Dekker (VVD)
Secretary for Social Affairs & Employment: Ms Jetta Klijsma (PvdA)
Secretary for Security & Justice: Mr Klaas Dijkhof (VVD)
Secretary for Public Health, Wellbeing & Sport: Mr Martin van Rijn (PvdA)

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 – 15 March 2017 results

VVD: 33
PVV: 20
CDA: 19
D66: 19
GroenLinks: 14
SP: 14
PvdA: 9
ChristenUnie: 5
Partij voor de Dieren: 5
50Plus: 4
SGP: 3
Denk: 3
Forum for Democratie: 2

Each party has a parliamentary caucus leader (actually called the “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 speakers from the MPs gather to ask the cabinet questions. For a picture of the Tweede Kamer, click here.

The parliamentary party leaders in the Tweede Kamer are currently:

VVD: Mr Halbe Zijlstra
PVV: Mr Geert Wilders
CDA: Mr Sybrand van Haersma Buma
D66: Mr Alexander Pechtold
GroenLinks: Mr Jesse Klaver
SP: Mr Emile Roemer
PvdA: Mr Lodewijk Asscher
ChristenUnie: Mr Gert Jan Segers
Partij voor de Dieren: Ms Marianne Thieme
SGP: Mr Kees van der Staaij
50Plus: Mr Henk Krol
Denk: Mr Tunahan Kuzu
Forum voor Democratie: Mr Thierry Baudet

EERSTE KAMER – 75 members 

VVD: 13
CDA: 12
D66: 10
PVV: 9
SP: 9
PvdA: 8
GroenLinks: 4
ChristenUnie: 3
SGP: 2
50Plus: 2
Partij voor de Dieren: 2
OSF: 1

The Eerste Kamer is elected indirectly via the members of the 12 provincial parliaments (see The Provinces) 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.

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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