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date: 09 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The Netherlands has one of the most proportional electoral systems in the world. This chapter details the origins, functioning, and effects of the Dutch electoral system. After providing the historical background of the electoral system, the chapter discusses the allocation of seats both to parties and to candidates and gives practical examples. Afterward, the chapter outlines the effects of the electoral system on the party system, the parties themselves, the composition of the parliament, and the government formation. Lastly, the chapter covers historical and more recent electoral reform debates. It turns out that in the Netherlands, electoral reform is a Sisyphean task: because of the low electoral threshold, electoral reform is always on the table, but given the broad coalitions and rigid constitution, reform attempts typically fail, and the reform discussions have to start all over again.

Keywords: proportional representation, flexible list system, electoral reform, Netherlands, coalitions

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