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The States-Provincial (Provinciale Staten, or PS – commonly known as simply the Staten, or States) is the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each of the Provinces of the Netherlands. It is elected for each province simultaneously once every four years and has the responsibility for matters of sub-national or regional importance. Each States-Provincial is directly elected by the electors within the relevant province, and the number of seats in each States-Provincial is proportional to its population.
From 1813 to 1850 the noble members of the ridderschap chose one third of the members of States-Provincial. Johan Rudolf Thorbecke's reforms and his "Provinces Law" ("provinciewet") of 1850 brought this privilege to an end.
Before 11 March 2003, the States-Provincial had only been the administration (i.e. the executive government) of the province, but after that date it has become the collective of representatives within the province, whose principal role is to oversee the administration of most executive tasks. These tasks are now in the hands of the Gedeputeerde Staten, a provincial college elected every four years from the States-Provincial's members. The Gedeputeerde Staten and the States-Provincial are both presided over by that province's King's Commissioner, appointed by the Crown every 6 years.
The last provincial elections were held 2 March 2011.
Number of seats in each States-Provincial
The size of a States-Provincial ranges from 39 members for a province with less than 400,000 inhabitants to 55 members for a province with more than 2.000.000 inhabitants.
Before 2007, it ranged from 39 members for a province with less than 200,000 inhabitants to 83 members for a province with more than 2,500,000 inhabitants. As a consequence of a change to the Provinciewet, starting at the States-Provincial elections of 7 March 2007, the total number of States-Provincial members was reduced from 764 to 564. A survey of the change in seats per province:
|Province||Seats after 2007||Seats before 2007|
A consequence of this reduction in the number of seats is that the election threshold (the minimum number of votes needed for a party to gain at least one seat in an assembly) has risen. Depending on the province, the threshold now lies between 1.5% and over 2% of the votes. Because of this, it has become harder for small parties to win a seat. This may also have consequences for the representation of small parties in the Senate, which is elected by the members of the States-Provincial.
Elections by party by province
Due to defections from one party to another and other such reasons the number of seats can fluctuate during each inter-elections period. This table only shows the distribution straight after the elections.
The named 'others' for 2007 are:
- in Groningen: PvhN (by 1 seat)
- in Friesland: FNP (by 5 seats)
- in Utrecht: Mooi Utrecht (by 1 seat)
- in Noord-Holland: ONH/Verenigd Senioren Partij (by 1 seat)
- in Zuid-Holland: Leefbaar Zuid-Holland (by 1 seat)
- in Zeeland: PVZ (by 2 seats)
- in Noord-Brabant: Brabantse Partij (by 1 seat)
- in Limburg: PNL (by 1 seat)
Seat distribution in the States-Provincial after the 2007 elections
Statenverkiezingen means State-Provincial elections.
- Provinces of the Netherlands
- Interprovinciaal Overleg
- Estates of the realm, for the origin of the term
- Provincieraad, the equivalent body in Belgium
- Website of the Interprovinciaal Overleg (IPO)
- Official figures of the kiesraad
- List of present Statenleden