Netherlands assembly size issue?

On a “how to vote” application for the upcoming Dutch election, the second statement you are asked to agree or disagree with is:

The number of members in the Lower House should remain at 150.

Is the size of the chamber an issue in the Netherlands?

For the record, the chamber is one of the most undersized among the major democracies (see graph), according to the cube-root rule.

On a somewhat related note, can anyone explain the Central Planning Agency, mentioned in a Monkey Cage post as an “authoritative” institution that “runs each party’s submissions [i.e. campaign proposals] through a model and offers projections”?

7 thoughts on “Netherlands assembly size issue?

  1. No, this is not the much anticipated planting on the Dutch election, per se. JD has indicated that he may be able to get me something to post (plant) later this week.


  2. An independent agency to cost electoral promises and platforms is increasingly common. In Australia it is a Treasury function but there is a proposal to transfer it to an independent agency, as had already been done in NSW. We also see a lot of shenanigans with the Opposition submitting costings too late in the election campaign.

    Enabling or requiring the Democrats and Republicans to submit their economic claims to, say, the CBO would be a rough equivalent. But no doubt Paul Ryan’s marathon times and number of Colorado mountains climbed are or more significance to the polity and the economy.


  3. MSS, surely the “Central Planning Agency” referred to is actually the Centraal Planbureau whose publication Keuzes en Kaart (Choices and Map, according to Google Translate) seems to be an analysis of ten electoral platforms.

    In Perú, political parties are required by law to present detailed platforms prior to elections. Unfortunately, nothing obliges them to actually follow them after the election, and in any event the inevitable constellation of coalition parties would make following any one platform impossible. (Presumably the latter effect also operates in the Netherlands.) Still, I can’t help thinking that it’s a good idea that someone takes such documents seriously.

    I gather that the VVD is advocating reducing the size of parliament by one-third (150 to 100 in the “second chamber” — the one elected directly — and 75 to 50 in the “first chamber”), while the PVV would go even further by removing the first chamber altogether, but I couldn’t find any rationale for these platforms, other than an appeal to smaller government and less overhead. (But I didn’t look too hard; Google Translate is too painful.)


  4. Rici has got it right.
    The size of parliament is not a big issue, nor would it be easy to change – requiring a full amendment to the constitution, and therefore won’t be implemented before the next elections, in any case.
    For my post, I have a much more interesting constitutional development, which IS going to take effect after 12 September…
    Stay tuned!


  5. Yes, the ‘lower’ chamber (directly elected, 150 members, more important) is called Tweede Kamer = Second Chamber, the ‘upper chamber’ (indirectly elected, 75 members, less important) is called Eerste Kamer = First Chamber.

    This should not be a surprise: the conventional ‘upper’ and the Dutch ‘first’ adjectives are both remnants of the pre-democratic view on the merits of the less democratic part of a bicameral parliament.


  6. The name of the report is “Keuzes in Kaart”, short for “Keuzes in kaart gebracht”, translated litteraly as “choices mapped”.


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