Majority: elect Senate in direct elections

22nd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Nearly seven out of ten people in the Netherlands want the Senate elected by direct popular vote, a survey finds.

The survey, conducted among 24,000 people by television programme Eenvandaag, comes two days before a new Senate is chosen amid uncertainty whether the coalition government will get a majority.

The uncertainty partly stems from the fact that the Senate is chosen in indirect elections.

The senators are chosen by the 566 members of the 12 provincial assemblies, who are chosen in direct provincial elections, which were held on 2 March.

But some regional parties have no national representation, and assembly members are free to vote for anyone, including senators of other parties.

To maximize their results regional and national parties enter into complex negotiations.

Some assemblymen, accordingly, may vote for a different party to give a national party an advantage, while others may do so in protest at their own party’s policies.

Some 84 percent of those surveyed say assemblymen trade their vote in exchange for political pledges or favours.

Speaking in the programme, senator Hans Engels of the democrat party D66 and political scientist Kees Aarts called for the abolishment of the Senate.

Sixty percent of those questioned, however, oppose abolishing the Senate, saying it plays an important role in politics.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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