Netherlands 2017 open thread

I hope to have something to say about the recent election in the Netherlands. But so far have not. But maybe you do. Here is your chance!

We can talk about the election result itself, or the coalition negotiations, which should be pretty interesting.

(Part of the reason for not having a post yet is that I made this election one of the themes for my students’ final exam earlier this week. And now that means exams and papers must be graded, grades assigned, etc.)

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31 thoughts on “Netherlands 2017 open thread

  1. This comment is by Rob (moved from a different thread).

    Opponents of PR use the Dutch system as an excuse to stick with FPTP because nobody votes for a coalition, the long lengthy talks that takes months, and the Labor Party suffered a massive defeat going in with government with the Liberal VVD, and compromising to the point that it lost it’s identity and distinctiveness in government, seems that the tail wagging the door doesn’t apply here with small parties holding larger parties ransom.

  2. The vote loss of the Social Democrats was particularly striking and I did an analysis with the ParlGov data. It is indeed a particlulary bad election results in comparative perspective.

    http://holgerdoering.net/nld-election

    The German Social Democrats had similiar losses when they where the junior partner in the 2005 Merkel I cabinet. I wondered if we have a good understanding how the “cost of ruling” in parliamentary democracies are distributed among coalition partners. In Western Europe, the radical right regularly suffered large electoral losses when the took part in coaliton cabinets. What are the general patterns across different party types?

    • The Dutch Labour party lost 77% of its vote share, the German SPD lost only about a third in 2009. I can think of few comparable collapses. Greece’s PASOK lost just shy of 70% in 2012a; Spain’s UCD lost 80% in 1982.

      • Kadima’s loss of just over 90% of its vote is another example, but of course that was a far younger and less institutionalised party.

    • The Progressive Conservatives in Canada went went from 154 to 2 in 1993, yet another persuasive example of the stabilising effect of single member districts.

    • Thanks, Holger. There certainly is a literature on costs of ruling for coalition partners, but I don’t know that there is a clear consensus from there yet (it is not a lit I know intimately).

    • Bancki, this is an unusual approach, but my attempt to email you using the address in your comment form, has failed. I want to follow up regarding an earlier comment of yours that I just re-read and find interesting. So please contact me (privately) if you see this.

  3. Who will form the next government? Can one be form with such a fragmented parliament? Will it go the full term like the previous government did?

  4. The VVD+CDA+D66+GL coalition possibility that has been explored since the process of government formation began 62 days ago, has today been abandoned over disagreements over asylum policy. It seems highly likely that VVD+CDA+D66+CU will be the next option to be explored.

    • It seems to me that one coalition formation at a time is attempted. Do they still appoint formateurs (spelling?) to do that formally?

      More importantly, after seeing the BJP and the INC “race” to get enough votes to go to the (governor’s) palace after the recent elections in Goa, is there any are reason why multipl parties cannot conduct mulilaterial coalitions until someone or some group is ready to come forward and say they have a majority ready to be tested (or invested as the case might be)?

      • A formateur will be appointed once party membership in the government is settled, leaving only the issue of nominating ministers to the monarch. An INformateur presides over the negotiations and expected to function as a mostly impartial ‘honest broker’. The informateur is appointed, and reports back to, the lower house (formerly: the monarch). The current informateur is a VVD minister in the outgoing government.

    • D66 suggested a coalition with VVD+CDA+D66 plus SP and/or PvdA. Both of the latter parties declined. Informateur Schippers reports that VVD+CDA+D66+CU is the only remaining (majority) option she sees as having a chance of success, effectively saying D66 should swallow its pride and enter negotiations for that coalition variant,

  5. Week 13. A new informateur was appointed about a week ago – a Labour party political veteran (most recently he was head of the Council of State) who has played the same role in a number of previous government formations. He’s getting the original quartet (VVD+CDA+D66+GL) to talk again.

  6. Week 14. VVD+CDA+D66+GL have done a lot of talking over the past week, but it was no use. The Dutch public broadcaster reports that the debate about the formation in parliament yesterday suggests the talks between the four parties are now “definitively” at an end.

      • So far we’ve only had one (last time, which was relatively fast at about 8 weeks), so it’s too soon to say. But so far, this formation is still quite far from being among the longest-lasting formations ever, so formations with royal involvement could take just as long as this one is taking (at times, even longer).

      • According to the media, 90 days is the average, and we’ve just surpassed that. The record, though, was over 200 days. There remain other options that have not been formally discussed as different parties rejected those options. The Animal Rights party also has just enough seats for a majority with the main three parties of the formation (VVD+CDA+D66), but I have not heard anyone even mention that possibility, so I assume it’s not taken seriously. Then there’s always the possibility of minority govt, which everyone wants to avoid, but it is possible. I’m personally starting to think it’s becoming likely. There certainly has been no talk of new elections – I assume we will have to hit the 200-day mark before anyone mentions that possibility.

  7. Week 15 1/2. VVD, CDA, D66, CU leaders have done a bit of preliminary talking. Tjeenk Willink has resigned as informateur because he “doesn’t feel he’s the right person to oversee the coming round of talks”. Former finance minister Gerrit Zalm has tentatively been designated as his successor.

  8. Doe someone keeps a list of longest government formations? If I would put one on the net (e.g. on wikipeida) it would look like this (all > 100 days):

    country elections formed days prime minister remarks
    Lebanon 11-11-2006* 11-7-2008 608 Siniora II (if counted from exit Shia minister from Siniora I cabinet)
    Belgium 13-6-2010 6-12-2011 541 Di Rupo
    Bosnia 3-10-2010 12-1-2012 466 Bevanda
    Zimbabwe 29-3-2008 15-2-2009 323 Tsvangirai
    Lebanon 22-3-2013* 5-2-2014 320 Salam (counted from end Mikati II cabinet)
    Spain 21-12-2015* 4-11-2016 319 Rajoy II (with repeat elections on 26-06-2016)
    Iraq 7-3-2010 22-12-2010 290 al-Maliki II
    Lebanon 24-11-2007* 11-7-2008 230 Siniora II (if counted from resignation Siniora I cabinet as a consequence of end of term of president Lahoud)
    Czech Rep. 3-6-2006 9-1-2007 220 Topolánek II (if Topolánek I cabinet (4-9-2006) is disregarded as it lost confidence on 3-10-2006)
    Netherlands 25-5-1977 19-12-1977 208 Van Agt I
    Belgium 10-6-2007 21-12-2007 194 Verhofstadt III
    Morocco 7-10-2016 5-4-2017 180 (El) Othmani
    Bosnia 12-10-2014 31-3-2015 170 Zvizdić
    Macedonia 11-12-2016 31-5-2017* 171 Zaev (check date, 31-05-2017 is when parliament granted confidence)
    Netherlands 29-11-1972 11-5-1973 163 Den Uyl
    Iraq 15-12-2005 20-5-2006 156 al-Maliki I
    Lebanon 7-6-2009 9-11-2009 155 Saad Hariri I (counted from elections)
    Lebanon 12-1-2011* 13-6-2011 152 Mikati II (counted from exit ‘March 8’ ministers from Saad Hariri I cabinet)
    Belgium 13-12-1987 9-5-1988 148 Martens VIII
    Belgium 25-5-2014 11-10-2014 139 Michel
    Austria 18-11-1962 27-3-1963 129 Gorbach II
    Netherlands 9-6-2010 14-10-2010 127 Rutte I
    Netherlands 22-1-2003 27-5-2003 125 Balkenende II
    Austria 3-10-1999 4-2-2000 124 Schüssel
    Netherlands 13-6-1956 13-10-1956 122 Drees IV
    Iceland 10-10-1946* 4-2-1947 117 Stefánsson (counted from end Thors Iib cabinet, elections 30-06-1946)
    Kenya 27-12-2007 17-4-2008 112 Odinga
    Netherlands 3-5-1994 22-8-1994 111 Kok I
    Netherlands 26-5-1981 11-9-1981 108 Van Agt II
    Netherlands 15-3-2017 ??? ??? ??? (already 108 days on 1-07-2017)
    Belgium 17-12-1978 3-4-1979 107 Martens I
    Belgium 24-11-1991 7-3-1992 104 Dehaene I
    Austria 1-10-2006 11-1-2007 102 Gusenbauer

    • Bancki, thank you for this list. I’m not sure if I would include Bosnia – do they have cabinet responsibility? I thought the tripartite executive was directly elected and independent of the assembly, but perhaps they appoint a responsible cabinet. I definitely wouldn’t include Zimbabwe, since that was an ad hoc power-sharing deal rather than a constitutionally authorised situation with actual cabinet responsibility.

  9. OK Zimbabwe is debatable (and Kenya for the same reason) but Bosnai is parliamentary

    http://www.ccbh.ba/osnovni-akti/ustav/?title=clan-5
    art. V.4. Council of Ministers.
    The Presidency shall nominate the Chair of the Council of Ministers, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives. The Chair shall nominate a Foreign Minister, a Minister for Foreign Trade, and other Ministers as may be appropriate, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.
    a. Together the Chair and the Ministers shall constitute the Council of Ministers, with responsibility for carrying out the policies and decisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fields referred to in Article III(1), (4), and (5) and reporting to the Parliamentary Assembly (including, at least annually, on expenditures by Bosnia and Herzegovina).
    b. No more than two-thirds of all Ministers may be appointed from the territory of the Federation. The Chair shall also nominate Deputy Ministers (who shall not be of the same constituent people as their Ministers), who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.
    c. The Council of Ministers shall resign if at any time there is a vote of no-confidence by the Parliamentary Assembly.

      • Plural semipresidential?

        ARTICLE V. PRESIDENCY
        The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of three Members: one Bosniac and one Croat, each directly elected from the territory of the Federation, and one Serb directly elected from the territory of the Republika Srpska.

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