NETHERLANDS
Parliamentary Chamber: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2003

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Chamber:
  Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  22 January 2003


Purpose of elections:

  General elections were held for all the seats in the House of Representatives following premature dissolution of this body after the resignation of the Prime Minister in October 2002. Elections had previously taken place in May 2002.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 22 January 2003, the Dutch voted for a new Parliament in early elections triggered by the collapse of the centre-right coalition that had governed for just 87 days, the shortest-lived Dutch government since World War Two. The last government fell on 16 October 2002, when Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende resigned.

Eighteen parties contested the elections. The country's biggest party, the Christian Democrats (CDA), had led the outgoing coalition formed with the party of murdered populist Pim Fortuyn (LPF) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). The main issues for the CDA during the electoral campaign were the reduction of bureaucracy to divert funds into fighting crime, tightening immigration, boosting the economy and raising pay for those on low incomes. The VVD took a tough stance on immigration, crime and European Union expansion. The Labour Party (PvdA), which made a great comeback in opinion polls during the weeks prior to elections after it had crashed to its worst election defeat since World War Two in May 2002 following eight years in a centre-left coalition, promoted the integration of immigrants through "citizenship" classes and backed the use of surveillance cameras to fight crime. The Pim Fortuyn List, which had swept into Parliament on its general election debut in May 2002, capturing 26 seats only nine days after its founder and leader was gunned down, campaigned for strict laws to expel illegal immigrants, restrictions on immigrants bringing foreign partners to the Netherlands and plans to put more prisoners in one cell. The left-wing Socialist Party (SP) focused on fighting white-collar crime and raising taxes for the very wealthy. The SP also stated its conviction that the Netherlands should leave Nato and strongly opposed a war against Iraq. The Green-Left Party campaigned on environmental issues, advocating fighting world poverty, opposing the war in Iraq and supporting the right of immigrants to preserve their own culture and traditions. The D66 also ran on environmental issues and favoured raising taxes on motorists, greater use of wind power and more accountable government.

Turnout in the elections was 80.3 per cent, slightly higher than in the May 2002 poll.

The elections results showed that the CDA had taken 44 seats in the 150 seat Parliament, winning a narrow victory over the Labour Party, which had won 42 seats. The liberal VVD was third, with 28 seats, followed by the Socialist Party, which obtained nine. The LPF lost all but eight of the 26 seats it had won in May 2002. The Green Party also obtained eight seats, the Democrats 66 (D66) six, the Christian Union 3 and the State Reform Party (SGP) the remaining 2 seats.

On 4 February 2003, during the first sitting of the newly elected House of Representatives, Mr. Frans Weisglas was re-elected as Speaker.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (22 January 2003): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 16 106 285
Voters 9 654 475 (60 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 25 087
Valid votes 25 087

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) 2 758 649 28.57
Labour Party (PvdA) 2 626 926 27.28
Liberal Party (VVD) 1 728 707 17.91
Socialist Party (SP) 609 723 6.32
Pim Fortuyn List 549 975 5.70
Green Left 493 802 5.11
Democrats 66 (D66) 393 333 4.07
Christian Union 204 694 2.12
State Reform Party (SGP) 150 305 1.56

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) 44
Labour Party (PvdA) 42
Liberal Party (VVD) 28
Socialist Party (SP) 9
Pim Fortuyn List 8
Green Left 8
Democrats 66 (D66) 6
Christian Union 3
State Reform Party (SGP) 2

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 95
Women: 55
Percent of women: 36.67


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Copyright 2003 Inter-Parliamentary Union