Political Quirks monthlies

This is the monthly archive for May 2010.

Coalition news, ctd.

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Coalitions, D66

CDA secretary of state Van Bijsterveldt (not to be confused with Bijleveld) said that she felt the PVV is too right-wing to really form a coalition with.

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Small fry, 31 May

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Balkenende, CDA, Cohen, Immigrants, PVV, PvdD

Some minor points:

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Comparing final polls to election results

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Polls

I found the last polling results from the 2002, 2003, and 2006 elections, and couldn’t resist studying them a bit better and comparing them to the eventual election outcome. Two trends emerged: one that I more-or-less expected and one that was a complete surprise.

The expected trend was that the polls did an excellent job of capturing the primary theme of an election cycle, but that a secondary, less important but still quite unexpected, theme surfaced in the actual elections.

The surprising trend was that relative to the last polls, the right block as a whole won three seats; two from the left and one from the christians. This happened both in 2003 and 2006, while in 2002 this last-minute shift was exactly twice as large.

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Even more coalition news

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Coalitions, Cohen, Rutte

Well, it’s clear the elections are drawing near. Coalition news is on the rise, with yesterday Rutte indicating a coalition with the PVV is not entirely out of the question, and today Cohen reacting to that news.

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And more coalition news

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Coalitions

Two minor coalition items: Cohen “thinks about” Purple, while Wilders wants Right. The first one is mildly surprising, the second less so.

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Coalition poll

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Coalitions, Polls

A pollster I haven’t previously heard of, Novum Nieuws, has released a coalition poll. Which coalition do voters prefer?

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Two parties on verge of breakthrough?

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Minor parties

Peil.nl states in its last poll that two parties are over the half-seat mark and just might get enough votes for a full seat: Lijst 17 and the Pirate Party. (Remember: although the Dutch system is pretty easy on small parties, they have to win one full seat all by themselves. Half-seats don’t count.)

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New Politieke Barometer poll

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Polls

The Politieke Barometer has released its second poll this week, and I added it to the polls page. It’s the first poll after Wednesday’s debate.

With a lot of fantasy the new poll can be seen as evidence for my undecideds theory, but the effect is very slight and might easily fall within the margin of error. GL and SP both win one seat, while the PvdA loses one. On the right, the VVD wins one seat while CDA and PVV both lose one. That means one seat has gone from right to left. This is in line with what I predicted, but I was hoping for a clearer support of my theory, and you should feel free to believe the poll results are a coincidence.

The prime minister

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Balkenende, Kroes, Rutte

During last Sunday’s debate there was some discussion about the VVD’s prime ministerial candidate. Custom requires the party leader to become the party’s candidate, but Dutch EU commissioner Kroes was mentioned as VVD candidate prime minister a few times.

Meanwhile Kroes has clearly stated she’s not interested, but this topic continues to garner much interest among political aficionados, and Rutte was attacked on it in the debates. Therefore it’s time to look at the position of the Dutch prime minister.

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Undecideds in the polls

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Polls

I mentioned this in my last poll report, but it deserves a separate entry. How do Dutch pollsters treat the undecideds? What does that mean?

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The 26 May debate

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Balkenende, Cohen, Debates, Halsema, Pechtold, Roemer, Rouvoet, Rutte, Wilders

Yesterday the leaders of the eight largest parties debated on the economy. It was a tightly-led debate with a distinctly less weird format than usual, and it allowed all eight participants to shine a few times — or fail to do so, but that was their own fault.

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Cohen apologises for errors and changes

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Cohen, Polls, PvdA

This morning PvdA party leader Cohen apologised for the errors and vagueness surrounding the PvdA election programme and the amount of recent changes in it.

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New post-debate poll; next debate coming

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Polls

The new Politieke Barometer poll has landed, two days earlier than normal due to the debate, and I added it to the polls page.

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Polls and coalition update

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Coalitions, Polls

Last Friday the new Politieke Barometer poll landed and I added it to the polls page. I didn’t come around to discussing it yet.

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The 23 May debate

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Balkenende, Cohen, Debates, Rutte, Wilders

Sunday I watched the first debate in this election cycle, and here’s my report. It was slated as a “prime minister debate,” and as a result only four party leaders participated: Cohen (PvdA), Balkenende (CDA), Rutte (VVD), and Wilders (PVV).

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The Senate

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Until now hardly anyone has paid attention to the Senate, or, more formally, the First Chamber of the States-General. The 9 June elections are for the Second Chamber, but the First shares its legislative power, although it has no power of initiative and is limited to a simple Yes/No vote.

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Pechtold names preference: purple-green

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Coalitions, D66, Pechtold

In an interview D66 leader Pechtold names the first concrete coalition preference: PvdA+VVD+D66+GL. The preference itself is old news, but the fact that he openly calls for this coalition is new.

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New Peil.nl poll

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Coalitions, Polls, PvdA, VVD

The new Peil.nl poll has landed and I added it to the polls page.

One seat from CDA to CU, one to the VVD from CDA, PvdA, and D66.

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TNS-NIPO really starts; changes to polls page

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Polls

Well, it seems the TNS NIPO poll has finally become a weekly feature. I’ve added it to the polls page.

This poll has always been a bit of an outlyer; while the other two show the CDA at 26 seats, TNS-NIPO gives it only 21 seats, and divides the difference among PVV, D66, and CU. Odd. This poll has the worst track record of the three, so believe what you want.

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National Bash the Centre Parties Day

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Balkenende, CDA, CU, GL, Halsema, PvdA, Rouvoet

OK, it’s now officially National Bash the Centre Parties Day. After Rutte’s attacks this morning it’s now the CU’s turn. In an interview CU party leader Rouvoet and parliamentary leader Slob mercilessly attacked Balkenende’s performance as prime minister. Meanwhile GL leader Halsema attacked both CDA and PvdA generically.

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Rutte attacks CDA

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Balkenende, CDA, PvdA, Rutte, VVD

In an interview with the news site nu.nl VVD leader Rutte opened the attack on the CDA.

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Know your coalitions — Centre-left

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CDA, Coalitions, D66, PvdA

In order to properly prepare you for what’s going to happen after the elections it’s time to talk about coalitions. Dutch parties and voters have been thinking about them from the start, and they are everyone’s number 2 priority (number 1 being “How do I get as many votes as possible?” or “Which party shall I vote for?”)

Today we close off with Centre-left.

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Small fry; 18 May

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Balkenende, Campaign, Coalitions, Halsema, Pechtold, PvdA, Roemer, Rouvoet, Rutte

A few political items that happened to catch my eye:

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Jack de Vries resigns

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CDA

Last Friday secretary of state of Defense Jack de Vries (CDA) resigned over his affair with his adjutant. It turns out De Vries has been conducting an affair with her for a while, and his wife has kicked him out of the house. Earlier last week, when the affair became known, he announced that he would end his political life after the elections, but after pressure was brought on him by the military trade unions (as well as, one assumes, his own party, with the annual CDA Family Day approaching), he decided to resign immediately.

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PvdA economists praise VVD programme

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Coalitions, PvdA, VVD

In the series “curiouser and curiouser” today we see the unusual sight of two PvdA economists praising the VVD economic programme.

The two, Vermeend and Van der Ploeg, state that it’s the VVD programme that will deliver the best results when it comes to economic growth, employment, and reducing the deficit. They also like the D66 programme, stating that it works well in the short run (but not, apparently, the long run). In contrast, they cannot yet judge the PvdA and CDA programmes because they contain insufficient figures, so their effect cannot yet be calculated.
(Source: Volkskrant)

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Arguments within the PVV

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PVV, Wilders

Where Wilders’s PVV has been a glowing example of disciplined behaviour until now, with no other PVV politician even hinting at criticism of party leader Wilders, during an interview last Sunday the second-best-known PVV MP, Hero Brinkman, called for more internal party democracy.

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Campaigns temporarily suspended

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Campaign

Last Wednesday a plane crash near Tripoli, Libya, killed about 70 Dutch, with one boy miraculously surviving. This caused a big shock; not least because the sleaziest newspaper in the country, VVD-supporting De Telegraaf, conducted an interview with the surviving boy during which, it is said, they told him his parents and brother had all died.

In reaction most political parties temporarily suspended their campaigns. Not that the campaigns have started in earnest yet, but several party leaders were slated to appear at rallies throughout the country, and a radio debate was scheduled for today. These have all been cancelled.

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Polls and new coalitions

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Coalitions, GL, Polls

Both Peil.nl and the Politieke Barometer have published new polls, and I’ve added them to the polls page. I have also greatly increased the number of coalitions on the polls page.

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Thoughts on the UK coalition

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UK

Well, the deal is done, and Britain is ruled by a coalition. Although I still feel they gave themselves too little time, it seems the Tories and LibDems have actually struck a reasonable deal. In fact, the deal is outright generous to the LibDems because the Tories were in too much of a hurry. Patience is a virtue in coalition negotiations.

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How to discuss coalition preferences

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Coalitions, D66, Pechtold

D66 leader Pechtold gives a brilliant example of how to discuss your coalition preferences without actually discussing your coalition preferences. This is the bit the Brits should practice before switching to a new electoral system.

In an interview Pechtold proposed that parties would state their coalition preferences before the elections. Thus voters would know what they’d get when they vote for a party.

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New polls

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Polls

Both Peil.nl and the Politieke Barometer have published new polls, and I’ve added them to the polls page.

The VVD has become the second-largest party in the Politieke Barometer, too, celebrating that fact by taking another seat from the CDA. It’s clear now that the campaign will at least start as a PvdA vs. VVD fight. Nobody yet knows whether the CDA will knuckle under or stage yet another improbable comeback, but Balkenende’s party starts on the defensive.

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Thoughts on the British elections and coalition(!) negotiations

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UK

Well, a hung parliament it is, and British politicians are getting ready to enter unknown and potentially dangerous territory: coalition negotiations.

The real problem here is not that the party leaders don’t want to negotiate, but that nobody has any idea of how to do it gracefully. The poor things are quite out of their depth and try to hide their uncertainty by proceeding at breakneck speed.

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Where we stand now

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CDA, CU, D66, GL, Local elections, PVV, PvdA, PvdD, SGP, SP, ToN, VVD

In the past six weeks or so I haven’t been as active on this blog as I’d planned, but in the end this is a personal side project that I either have time for or don’t. Fortunately the past weeks were also relatively quiet on the political front. The local elections have run their course, and the parties are now gearing up for the general elections.

The campaign will start in two weeks or so, because late April/early May features a few Dutch-only holidays: Queen’s Day on 30 April, Remembrance Day on 4 May, and Liberation Day on 5 May. (The latter two both celebrate our liberation from the nazis in 1945). Besides, there’s a two-week school holiday right now, and many voters are abroad on some beach or so. Little sense in starting up your campaign now.

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The UK elections

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UK

Today we will briefly glance across the North Sea to the UK elections which have become uncommonly exciting.

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Article: Roman or red?

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Articles

I have published the fifth article in my series: Roman or red? It treats the failed Breakthrough, the five parties, the party system in general, and political history 1946-1967.

Polls, polls, polls — PvdA and VVD edition

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Coalitions, Polls, PvdA, VVD

Both Peil.nl and the Politieke Barometer have published new polls, and I’ve added them to the polls page.

For the first time, the VVD is the second-largest party in both polls, being 3 or 1 seat larger than the CDA, respectively.

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Older

See the April 2010 archive.

This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.

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