Cabinet backs new electoral system

20th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 August 2004, AMSTERDAM — Ministers gave their backing Friday for a draft of a new electoral system, under which people in the Netherlands would cast two votes: for a candidate from a national list and one for a regional politician.

20 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Ministers gave their backing Friday for a draft of a new electoral system, under which people in the Netherlands would cast two votes: for a candidate from a national list and one for a regional politician.

Deputy Prime Minister Thom de Graaf said his new system would help to create a stronger bond between the electorate and as many parliamentarians as possible. The minister said he wanted to end the "march of anonymous candidates into Parliament".

Currently the Netherlands operates a form of proportional representation based on a list system.

The country is divided into 19 electoral districts during the elections, supposedly allowing parties to put up candidates who are well known in particular parts of the country. However, all the votes cast for each party in every district are counted together when the election results are tallied

Under the system a party that wins 10 percent of the vote also occupies 10 percent of the seats in Parliament.

De Graaf's Democrat D66 party has long campaigned to change the system, claiming that politicians get elected despite not being well known to the public at large.

The D66 joined the coalition government with the Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD largely on the basis that a D66 minister would be given the opportunity to redraft the electoral system.

In recent months the CDA and VVD have voiced criticism of the D66 plans. This in turn led the D66 to threaten it would bring down the government if the redraft was rejected.

In De Graaf's final draft plan the country would be divided up into 20 electoral districts, each electing two and five MPs.

The CDA had originally wanted one MP per district so that it would be clear to the local electorate who the district's chosen MP was. The VVD opposed the CDA idea.

But ministers from all three parties reached a consensus on the plan after 'forthright discussions' Friday, de Graaf said.

It is unclear if the Parliament will also back his plan as a majority of MPs have already said more time should be spent on considering alternatives to the current system.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]


Subject: Dutch news

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