Next Dutch general election
All 150 seats in the House of Representatives
76 seats needed for a majority
The current government was inaugurated after the longest coalition formation in Dutch history, with 225 days between the election and swearing in of the cabinet. The current cabinet is led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who presides over a coalition consisting of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Democrats 66 (D66), and Christian Union (CU). The coalition holds a narrow majority in both legislative chambers, with 76 of 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 38 of 75 seats in the Senate.
The 2017 general election was held after a five-year coalition between the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Labour Party (PvdA). The PvdA suffered heavy losses in the election, being reduced from 38 to 9 seats, while the VVD lost 8 seats, falling from 41 to 33 but remaining the largest party. The Party for Freedom (PVV) came in second with 20 seats, 5 more than it won in the 2012 election, while the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) gained 6 seats to win 19 in total, Democrats 66 (D66) gained 7 to win 19, GroenLinks (GL) gained 10 to win 14, and the Socialist Party (SP) lost 1 to win 14. The election also saw two new parties, Denk and Forum for Democracy (FvD), enter the House of Representatives, winning 3 and 2 seats, respectively. Four other smaller parties maintained representation in the lower chamber: Christian Union (CU) and Party for the Animals (PvdD) with 5 seats each, 50PLUS with 4 seats, and the Reformed Political Party (SGP) with 3 seats. As the largest party, the VVD took the lead in forming a coalition, and appointed Edith Schippers as scout (verkenner) for the formation on 16 March.
The most-suggested coalition configuration by party leaders was one between the VVD, CDA, D66, and GroenLinks, with a coalition between the VVD, CDA, D66, and Christian Union the second-most discussed option. After first consultative talks between the VVD, CDA, D66, and GroenLinks on 23 March, the four parties agreed to begin negotiating a coalition between the four; such a coalition would control a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives, with 85 of 150 seats, and a thin majority in the Senate, with 39 of 75 seats. On 27 March, Schippers presented her report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Khadija Arib, thereby concluding the scouting period, and advised that a coalition consisting of the VVD, D66, CDA, and GroenLinks be formed. On 28 March, Schippers was appointed the sole informateur for the cabinet formation. However, she announce on 15 May that coalition talks had failed over migration issues, and submitted her final report to Arib on 16 May. She was reappointed as informateur on 17 May, scouting out the possibility of a coalition with the three larger parties and Christian Union, but concluded after extensive talks on 23 May that there was little reason to continue due to fundamental disagreements between D66 and CU on medical and ethical policies.
In her final report on 29 May, Schippers recommended Herman Tjeenk Willink as the next informateur. He was subsequently appointed the next day, and attempted to continue negotiations including GroenLinks before collapsing on 12 June. With it becoming clear that the only possible fourth coalition partner would be Christian Union, Tjeenk Willink submitted his final report on 27 June as negotiations with CU began, recommending Gerrit Zalm as the next informateur. On 9 October, the parties announced that they had concluded a provisional coalition agreement for the new cabinet. Zalm presented his final report on 10 October, which was approved by the four parliamentary parties, and Mark Rutte was appointed as formateur on 12 October, promising a cabinet by 26 October. The Rutte III cabinet was officially sworn in by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands with a total of 24 ministers and state secretaries – 9 from the VVD, 6 each from the CDA and D66, and 3 from the CU – on 26 October, 225 days after the election, making it the longest cabinet formation in Dutch history. The four-party coalition holds 76 of 150 seats in the lower chamber and 38 of 75 seats in the upper chamber.
The 150 members of the House of Representatives are elected by open list proportional representation. Although the country is divided into 20 regional constituencies for the purposes of regional electoral lists, it is functionally treated as a single constituency at the national level. Seats are distributed at the national level on the basis of the electoral lists. After the number of seats per list is determined, the seats are first allocated to candidates by list using the D'Hondt method, effectively resulting in an electoral threshold of 1/150th (0.67%) of votes to secure a seat. Voters have the option of casting a preferential vote; candidates who receive at least 25 percent of the preferential vote on their list are automatically elected regardless of existing placement on their electoral list, with the remaining seats allocated to candidates according to their placement on electoral lists.
Persuant to articles C.1, C.2, and C.3 of the electoral law, elections for the House of Representatives take place every four years in March. The next general election is scheduled for 17 March 2021, unless the chamber should be dissolved early.
The table below lists parties currently represented in the House of Representatives.
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- Joost de Vries (20 March 2017). "Van middenkabinet tot 'christelijk progressief', alle formatiewensen op een rij". de Volkskrant. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
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- "Kabinet-Rutte III kan aan de slag". NOS. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
- "Rutte III: 76 kikkers in de kruiwagen". De Telegraaf. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
- Gerard Vroegindeweij (18 March 2017). "Kan CU in kabinet en SGP coalitie gedogen?". Reformatorisch Dagblad. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
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