Posts Tagged ‘shortcoming of parliamentary system’

This is the coalition government most seriously studied in the coming days: two big winners trying to persuade one big loser to combine forces. Compared to the elections of 2006 VVD grew from 22 to 31 seats, PVV from 9 to 24 and CDA lost 20 seats and now has 21 representatives in parliament. Historically speaking the actual argument – supported by almost all parties – that governmental participation of the PVV party should be taken most serious as they have seen the biggest growth in votes, shows how party politics is based on short memory. The oscillating favours of Dutch voters in the last two decades resulted in the national elections of the year 2003 in sudden growth of votes for the Socialist Party (SP). They grew from 9 to 25 seats which is one seat more of sudden growth than the now triumphant PVV party of Geert Wilders. In 2003 the bright red horse of the SP was maneuvered out of government within days. Nobody taking their victory serious. Where the PVV has grown in 2010 elections with 15 seats to a total of 24, the SP had grown in 2006 with 16 seats to a total of 25 (of which they have lost now 10 seats). These are the vicissitudes of the parliamentary system in which the act of counting and the value of numbers is most peculiar  and has its own non-mathematical logic. As ‘a majority’ in our actual democratic system  = 1/2 the total numbers number of seats + 1, the ‘ars combinatoria’ of selecting party horses that will pull the ‘wagon of state’ will at one moment in history not value an electoral success, while at another moment prize a defeat.

Most parties in the scattered landscape of Dutch party politics enter the election process with blind faith and false hope that they will gain enough votes to form a government with one or two friends. Most of the party leaders refuse to tell the voters on forehand who their friends are or will be. The most heard argument has been  “you voters, it is you who decide.” After the elections democracy ends up with a decision process of wheeling and dealing directed by a hereditary monarch and a lackey appointed by her for this occasion. “De kiezer heeft gesproken” (the voter has spoken) is the expression of the day, while on the basis of marginal differences in actual votes, unpredictable government coalitions are wrought which have measures and policies in stall that will go against that what the majority of the voters have tried to express at the one brief moment in time that they could mark their ballot-paper. After one month of staged political debates on television and party leaders feigning ‘direct democracy’ on twitter, it is back to ‘back-room policies’.

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