House of Representatives (Netherlands)

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House of Representatives
Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal
States General of the Netherlands
Coat of arms of the Tweede Kamer.svg
Type
Type
Leadership
Khadija Arib, Labour Party
Since 13 January 2016
First Deputy Speaker
Structure
Seats 150
Tweede Kamer 2017.svg
Political groups

Government (76)[1]

  •      VVD (33)
  •      CDA (19)
  •      D66 (19)
  •      CU (5)

Opposition parties (74)

  •      PVV (20)
  •      GL (14)
  •      SP (14)
  •      PvdA (9)
  •      PvdD (5)
  •      50PLUS (4)
  •      SGP (3)
  •      DENK (3)
  •      FvD (2)
Elections
Party-list proportional representation D'Hondt method
Last election
15 March 2017
Next election
17 March 2021
Meeting place
The Second Chamber sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague
Binnenhof
The Hague,
Netherlands
Website
House of Representatives
Tweede Kamer

The House of Representatives (Dutch: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, pronouned [ˈtʋeːdə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(n) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] (About this sound listen); commonly referred to as the Tweede Kamer, literally Second Chamber) is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands, the States General, the other one being the Senate. It has 150 seats which are filled through elections using a party-list proportional representation. It sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague.

Name[edit]

Although this body is called the "House of Representatives" in English, this is not a direct translation of its Dutch name, the "Second Chamber" or more colloquially just the "Chamber". Rather than "representatives" (afgevaardigden), members of the House are referred to as Tweede Kamerlid ("member of the Second Chamber").

Functions[edit]

The House of Representatives is the main chamber of the States General, where discussion of proposed legislation and review of the actions of the cabinet takes place. Both the Cabinet and the House of Representatives itself have the right to propose legislation; the House of Representatives discusses it and, if adopted by a majority, sends it on to the Senate. Review of the actions of the cabinet takes the form of formal interrogations, which may result in motions urging the cabinet to take, or refrain from, certain actions. No individual may be a member of both parliament and cabinet, except in a caretaker cabinet that has not yet been succeeded when a new House is sworn in.

The House of Representatives is also responsible for the first round of selection for judges to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. It submits a list of three names for every vacant position to the Government. Furthermore, it elects the Dutch Ombudsman and his subsidiaries.

Elections[edit]

The normal term of the House of Representatives is four years. Elections are called when the government loses parliament's confidence, the governing coalition breaks down, the term of the House of Representatives expires or when no governing coalition can be formed.

Parties[edit]

Anybody eligible to vote in the Netherlands also has the right to establish a political party and contest elections for the House of Representatives. Parties wanting to take part must register 43 days before the elections, supplying a nationwide list of at most 50 candidates (80 if the party already has more than 15 seats). Parties that do not have any sitting candidates in the House of Representatives must also pay a deposit (11,250 euro for the November 2006 elections, for all districts together) and provide 30 signatures of support from residents of each of the 20 electoral districts in which they want to collect votes.

Party lists[edit]

The candidate lists are placed in the hands of the voters at least 14 days before the election. Each candidate list is numbered, with the person in the first position known as the lijsttrekker ("list puller"). The lijsttrekker is usually appointed by the party to lead its election campaign, and is almost always the party's political leader and candidate for Prime Minister. Parties may choose to compete with different candidate lists in each of the 20 electoral districts, but as seats are allocated on national rather than district level, most parties have almost identical lists in all districts with candidates running nationwide. Only large parties usually have some regional candidates at the bottom of their lists. From 1973 until abolition in June 2017 it was possible for two or more parties to combine their separate lists to increase the chance of winning a remainder seat. This was known as a 'list combination' or Lijstverbinding / lijstencombinatie.[2]

Registration and voting[edit]

Citizens of the Netherlands aged 18 or over have the right to vote, with the exception of 1) prisoners serving a term of more than one year and 2) those who have been declared incapable by court because of insanity. Citizens resident in the Netherlands are able to vote if they are registered on a municipal population register (Basisregistratie Personen). Citizens outside the Netherlands can permanently register to vote at the municipality of The Hague, provided they have a current Dutch passport or identity card.

A single vote can be placed on any one candidate. Many voters select one of the lijsttrekkers (Jan Peter Balkenende, for example, received 2,198,114 of the CDA's 2,608,573 votes in the November 2006 elections), but alternatively a preference vote may be made for a candidate lower down the list.

Allocation of seats[edit]

Exterior of the House of Representatives
The debate chamber of the House of Representatives after the 2020s planned renovation

Once the election results are known, the seats are allocated to the parties. The number of valid national votes cast is divided by 150, the number of seats available, to give a threshold for each seat (the kiesdeler); 1/150th is approximately 0.67% of the valid votes. Each party's number of votes is divided by this threshold to give an initial number of seats. Any party that received fewer votes than the threshold fails to gain representation in the House of Representatives. The threshold is one of the lowest for national parliaments in the world, and there are usually multiple parties winning seats with 2% or less of the vote. Any party that received more than 75% of the threshold (1/200th of the vote) will have its deposit refunded.

After the initial seats are allocated, the remainder seats are allocated using the D'Hondt method of largest averages. This system slightly favours the larger parties.

Once the number of seats allocated to each party is known, in general they are allocated to candidates in the order that they appear on the party's list. (Hence, before the elections, the candidates near the top may be described as in an electable position, depending on the number of seats that the party is likely to obtain.) At this stage, however, the preference votes are also taken into account. Any candidate receiving more than one quarter of the threshold on personal preference votes (the 'preference threshold' or voorkeursdrempel, 0.1675% of the total number of valid votes), is considered elected in their own right, leapfrogging candidates higher on the list. In the November 2006 elections, only one candidate received a seat exclusively through preference votes, while 26 other candidates reaching the preference threshold were already elected based on their position on the list. If a candidate cannot take up the position in parliament (e.g., if they become a minister, decide not to enter parliament, or later resign) then the next candidate on the list takes their place.

Formation of governing coalition[edit]

After all seats are allocated, a series of negotiations take place in order to form a government that, usually, commands a majority in the chamber. Since 2012, the House of Representatives appoints a "scout" to ask the major party leaders about prospective coalitions. On the basis of the scout's interviews, the House of Representatives then appoints an informateur, who checks out possible coalitions, and formateur, who leads negotiations (in previous years the informateur and formateur were appointed by the monarch). It typically takes a few months before the formateur is ready to accept a royal invitation to form a government and become prime minister. All cabinet members must resign from parliament, as the constitution does not allow a cabinet member to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.

Due to the nationwide party-list system and the low election threshold, it is nearly impossible for one party to win the 76 seats needed for a majority in the House of Representatives. Indeed, since the current party-list proportional representation system was introduced in 1918, no party has even approached the number of seats necessary for an outright majority. The highest proportion of seats won by a single party since then has been 54 out of 150, obtained by the CDA in 1986 and 1989. Between 1891 and 1897, the Liberal Union was the last party to have an absolute majority of seats in the House of Representatives. All Dutch cabinets since then have been coalitions of two or more parties.

House of Representatives offices[edit]

The buildings that house the individual offices of the Members of the House of Representatives and conference rooms for closed-door party's meetings are all located on the Binnenhof. The main buildings of the Old Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Colonial Affairs are used as accommodations.

Composition[edit]

Historical compositions[edit]

Representation per party, between 1946 and 2006

Until 1956, there were 100 seats. This was expanded to 150 seats, which is the current number.

To give an overview of the history of the House of Representatives, the figure on the right shows the seat distribution in the House from the first general elections after World War II (1946) to the current situation. The left-wing parties are towards the bottom, the Christian parties in the centre, with the right-wing parties towards the top. Occasionally, single-issue (or narrow-focus) parties have arisen, and these are shown at the extreme top. Vertical lines indicate general elections. Although these are generally held every four years, the resulting coalition governments do not always finish their term without a government crisis, which is often followed by fresh elections. Hence the frequent periods shorter than four years.

Current situation[edit]

The Dutch general election of 2017 was held on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, and followed the call for new elections after the Second Rutte cabinet had completed its four-year term. The new Members of the House of Representatives were installed on 23 March 2017. Four parties were required to form a coalition with a simple majority (76 seats). Rutte's VVD, as well as the CDA, D66 and CU parties, later agreed to form a governing coalition with the required one-seat majority after the longest time since an election took place, 209 days, surpassing the previous record of 208 days set after the 1977 general elections.

Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands
e • d Summary of the 15 March 2017 Dutch House of Representatives election results
Tweede Kamer 2017.svg
Party Lijsttrekker Votes % +/ Seats +/
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy VVD Mark Rutte 2,238,351 21.3 −5.3 33 −8
Party for Freedom PVV Geert Wilders 1,372,941 13.1 +3.0 20 +5
Christian Democratic Appeal CDA Sybrand Buma 1,301,796 12.4 +3.9 19 +6
Democrats 66 D66 Alexander Pechtold 1,285,819 12.2 +4.2 19 +7
GroenLinks GL Jesse Klaver 959,600 9.1 +6.8 14 +10
Socialist Party SP Emile Roemer 955,633 9.1 −0.6 14 −1
Labour Party PvdA Lodewijk Asscher 599,699 5.7 −19.1 9 −29
ChristianUnion CU Gert-Jan Segers 356,271 3.4 +0.3 5 +0
Party for the Animals PvdD Marianne Thieme 335,214 3.2 +1.3 5 +3
50PLUS 50+ Henk Krol 327,131 3.1 +1.2 4 +2
Reformed Political Party SGP Kees van der Staaij 218,950 2.1 +0.0 3 +0
DENK DENK Tunahan Kuzu 216,147 2.1 New 3 +3
Forum for Democracy FvD Thierry Baudet 187,162 1.8 New 2 +2
VoorNederland VNL Jan Roos 38,209 0.4 New 0
Pirate Party PP Ancilla van de Leest 35,478 0.3 +0.0 0
Article 1 A1 Sylvana Simons 28,700 0.3 New 0
Nieuwe Wegen NiWe Jacques Monasch 14,362 0.1 New 0
Entrepreneurs' Party OP Hero Brinkman 12,570 0.1 New 0
Lokaal in de Kamer LidK Jan Heijman 6,858 0.1 New 0
Non-Voters NS Peter Plasman 6,025 0.1 New 0
The Civil Movement DBB Ad Vlems 5,221 0.1 New 0
GeenPeil GP Jan Dijkgraaf 4,945 0.0 New 0
Jezus Leeft JL Florens van der Spek 3,099 0.0 New 0
Free-Minded Party VP Norbert Klein 2,938 0.0 New 0
Libertarian Party LP Robert Valentine 1,492 0.0 +0.0 0
Party for Human and Spirit / Basic Income Party / V-R MenS-BIP Tara-Joëlle Fonk 726 0.0 −0.2 0
StemNL SNL Mario van den Eijnde 527 0.0 New 0
Free Democratic Party VDP Burhan Gökalp 177 0.0 New 0
Total valid votes 10,516,041 100 150
Blank votes 15,876 0.15
Invalid votes 31,539 0.3
Total 10,563,456 100
Registered voters & turnout 12,893,466 81.9 +7.3
Source: Kiesraad

Parliamentary leaders[edit]

Portrait Name Party Service as parliamentary leader Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Klaas Dijkhoff Klaas Dijkhoff
(born 1981)
VVD 25 October 2017
(19 days)
23 March 2017
(235 days)
17 June 2010 – 20 March 2015
(4 years, 276 days)
Geert Wilders Geert Wilders
(born 1963)
PVV 23 November 2006
(10 years, 355 days)
16 July 2002
(15 years, 140 days)
25 August 1998 – 23 May 2002
(3 years, 271 days)
Sybrand van Haersma Buma Sybrand van Haersma Buma
(born 1965)
CDA 14 October 2010
(7 years, 30 days)
23 May 2002
(15 years, 174 days)
Alexander Pechtold Alexander Pechtold
(born 1965)
D66 30 November 2006
(10 years, 348 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 348 days)
Jesse Klaver Jesse Klaver
(born 1986)
GL 12 May 2015
(2 years, 185 days)
17 June 2010
(7 years, 149 days)
Emile Roemer Emile Roemer
(born 1962)
SP 5 March 2010
(7 years, 253 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 348 days)
Lodewijk Asscher Lodewijk Asscher
(born 1974)
PvdA 23 March 2017
(235 days)
23 March 2017
(235 days)
Gert-Jan Segers Gert-Jan Segers
(born 1969)
CU 10 November 2015
(2 years, 3 days)
20 September 2012
(5 years, 54 days)
Marianne Thieme Marianne Thieme
(born 1972)
PvdD 15 May 2012
(5 years, 182 days)
30 November 2006 – 24 January 2012
(5 years, 55 days)
15 May 2012
(5 years, 182 days)
30 November 2006 – 24 January 2012
(5 years, 55 days)
Henk Krol Henk Krol
(born 1950)
50+ 10 September 2014
(3 years, 64 days)
20 September 2012 – 4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
10 September 2014
(3 years, 64 days)
20 September 2012 – 4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
Kees van der Staaij Kees van der Staaij
(born 1968)
SGP 9 June 2010
(7 years, 157 days)
19 May 1998
(19 years, 178 days)
Tunahan Kuzu Tunahan Kuzu
(born 1981)
DENK 23 March 2017
(235 days)
20 November 2012
(5 years, 3 days)
Thierry Baudet Thierry Baudet
(born 1983)
FvD 23 March 2017
(235 days)
23 March 2017
(235 days)

Members of the Presidium[edit]

Portrait Name Position Party Service in the Presidium Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Khadija Arib Khadija Arib
(born 1960)
Speaker PvdA 13 January 2016
(1 year, 304 days)
1 March 2007
(10 years, 257 days)
19 May 1998 – 30 November 2006
(8 years, 195 days)
Ockje Tellegen Ockje Tellegen
(born 1974)
First Deputy Speaker VVD 31 October 2017
(13 days)
20 September 2012
(5 years, 54 days)
MartinBosma2017 (cropped).jpg Martin Bosma
(born 1964)
Second Deputy Speaker PVV 30 June 2010
(7 years, 228 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 348 days)
MadeleineVanToorenburg2015.jpg Madeleine van Toorenburg
(born 1968)
Third Deputy Speaker CDA 31 October 2017
(13 days)
1 March 2007
(10 years, 257 days)
Vera-Bergkamp (cropped).jpg Vera Bergkamp
(born 1971)
Fourth Deputy Speaker D66 31 October 2017
(13 days)
20 September 2012
(5 years, 54 days)
Linda Voortman Linda Voortman
(born 1979)
Fifth Deputy Speaker GL 9 March 2015
(2 years, 249 days)
30 October 2012 – 18 November 2014
(2 years, 19 days)
17 June 2010 – 20 September 2012
(2 years, 95 days)
Ronald van Raak Ronald van Raak
(born 1969)
Sixth Deputy Speaker SP 23 June 2010
(7 years, 235 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 348 days)
Joël Voordewind Joël Voordewind
(born 1965)
Seventh Deputy Speaker CU 20 September 2012
(5 years, 54 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 348 days)
Sharon Dijksma Sharon Dijksma
(born 1971)
Eighth Deputy Speaker PvdA 31 October 2017
(13 days)
23 March 2017
(235 days)
8 May 2012 – 20 September 2012
(135 days)
17 June 2010 – 17 January 2012
(1 year, 214 days)
17 May 1994 – 22 February 2007
(12 years, 281 days)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Netherlands: Coalition deal reached after 209 days". DW. Deutsche Welle. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Gijs Herderscheê (20 June 2017). "Fenomeen politieke lijstverbinding sneuvelt in Eerste Kamer". Volkskrant. 
  3. ^ (in Dutch) "Nieuwkomers Denk en Forum krijgen geen andere plek in zaal Tweede Kamer". NRC Handelsblad. 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  4. ^ (in Dutch) "Verhuizing Kamer lastige puzzel door eisen kleine partijen". Algemeen Dagblad. 2017-04-07. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  5. ^ (in Dutch) "'Reken niet zomaar op de SGP'". NRC Handelsblad. 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  6. ^ (in Dutch) "Partijen onderhandelen over werkplek - wie eindigt op zolder?". NRC Handelsblad. 2017-03-21. Retrieved 2017-11-04. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°4′47″N 4°18′53″E / 52.07972°N 4.31472°E / 52.07972; 4.31472