28 parties

The Kiesraad (Council for the Elections), which handles the election administration and the actual counting of the votes, has announced that all in all 28 parties will compete in the 2017 elections. That’s somewhat more than usual, but a lot less than the 81 parties that are officially registered.

In order to participate in the elections, registration is not enough. Parties that won seats in the previous elections will participate automatically. Parties that did not, however, have to pay a deposit of 11,250 euros AND have to gather about 600 autographs — and a specific number of autographs have to be collected in each of the twenty electoral circles, which are mostly adminitrative subdivisions (remember the Netherlands have no electoral districts: the entire country is one 150-seat district).

Now it has become clear that 18 new parties have managed to do both — though several of them gathered enough autographs in only some of the twenty circles, and will only be on the ballot in those circles. Combined with the 10 parties that won seats in 2012 this makes for a total of 28.

That’s good for the ballot designers. The current design allows a maximum of 32 parties, and for a while it was feared that the ballot form had to be changed to accomodate all the newcomers. Now it turns out that that will not be necessary.

Also, two list combinations have been announced. List combinations are a complicated topic; see The Rules of the Game section 8.3 for an explanation. The combinations are CU/SGP (christian), and PvdA/GL (left). There was a minor row a few weeks ago, when the SP refused to join the left-wing combination. I think the SP made a mistake here, but few voters will care.

Incidentally, parliament also decided that list combinations will be abolished after this election. The reasoning is vague (it was a construction from the seventies, when it was assumed parties would start to merge), but it was enough for a parliamentary majority. So take a last look at those list combinations — soon they’ll be gone.

Kiesraad: full party list.

We already treated the more-or-less serious newcomers on the right and left. What remains is a freak show. Let’s go through some highlights:

Anyway, though the number of small parties is rather high (the previous record was 26 in 1994), this is all part and parcel of Dutch political folklore. Of the new parties, only DENK will actually enter parliament.

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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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