Testimonial party

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A testimonial party (Dutch: beginselpartij/getuigenispartij) is a political party that focuses on its principles, instead of adapting them to local or temporal issues in the pursuit of coalition government participation. It is a specific phenomenon in the Netherlands, because of the Dutch system of proportional representation, in which any party that has over 0.66% of the vote can enter the House of Representatives. A typical House of Representatives has 10 or more factions represented. With such a large number of parties, it is all but impossible for one party to win the 76 seats needed for a majority in its own right.

As a result, most Dutch political parties will negotiate and compromise to form a coalition government. Testimonial parties will not compromise; this, combined with the fact that they are usually small parties, makes their participation in a coalition government extremely unlikely. Examples of parties that have referred to themselves as "testimonial" include the orthodox Protestant Reformed Political Party (SGP) and the animal rights-advocating Party for the Animals. In contrast, the term 'program party' is used for parties oriented toward participation in coalitions.

In other countries[edit]

The Christian Heritage Party of New Zealand, many members of which had Dutch ancestry, may have been a version of a 'testimonial party' effectively exported to a foreign context; New Zealand's mixed-member proportional representation electoral system discourages the participation of such small religion-based political parties.

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