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Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (House of Representatives)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Staten-Generaal / States General
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal / House of Representatives
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal / Senate
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 9 June 2010
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all seats in the House of Representatives following the publication of the Royal Decree of 18 March 2010 calling for early elections. Elections to the House of Representatives had previously taken place on 22 November 2006.
The June 2010 elections followed the collapse of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's fourth coalition government in February 2010.

In the previous elections (November 2006) neither the right nor the left won a clear majority. Prime Minister Balkenende's Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) remained the largest party winning 41 of the 150 seats at stake. The pro-business People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) took 22 seats. The VVD's breakaway Party for Freedom (GW/PvdV) led by Mr. Geert Wilders took nine seats. The main left-wing opposition the Labour Party (PvdA) remained the second largest party with 33 seats followed by the Socialist Party (SP) with 25 seats. The Green Left won seven seats while the centre-left Christian Union took six.

After lengthy negotiations Mr. Balkenende formed his fourth coalition government in February 2007. It comprised the CDA the PvdA the Christian Union and the Democrats 66 (D66 a centrist party that had taken three seats).

Mr. Balkenende first came to power in 2002 but his three previous coalition governments had broken down before the end of the full four-year term. The three parties in his fourth government disagreed on major issues including pension reform and public spending in the wake of the economic downturn.

Disagreement over continuing the Dutch military involvement in Afghanistan was the immediate cause of the collapse of the coalition. In 2006 the Netherlands supplied a contingent for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission in Afghanistan. The initial engagement was to end by 2008 but the mission was extended since no other NATO members had sent troops to replace the Dutch contingent. Amid growing unpopularity the House of Representatives voted in October 2009 to withdraw all 2 000 Dutch soldiers by August 2010.

However NATO requested the Dutch government to extend the deployment beyond 2010 owing to insecurity in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Balkenende's CDA was in favour of the extension but the PvdA of Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos was vehemently opposed. In February 2010 the PvdA announced it was withdrawing from the coalition government triggering its collapse. Queen Beatrix subsequently asked the outgoing government to dissolve the House of Representatives with a view to holding early elections on 9 June. They were the fourth to be held since 2002.

Mr. Balkenende became caretaker Prime Minister. He pledged to introduce drastic economic reforms by forming a new government comprising the CDA the VVD the Green Left and the D66 an unprecedented composition.

Shortly before the 2010 elections the country's Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis announced that 29 billion euros would have to be cut from public spending by 2015 prompting many parties to focus on the budget cuts during the election campaign. The parties on the left and the right presented conflicting austerity plans.

The leftist parties - the PvdA the SP and the Green Left - promised to cut defence spending while increasing taxes for people with higher incomes. The PvdA promised to save about 10 billion euros by 2015. The leftist parties pledged fewer cuts than the parties on the right arguing that too radical cuts would diminish people's spending power and increase unemployment consequently threatening economic recovery.

The parties on the right - Mr. Mark Rutte's VVD Mr. Wilders' PVV and Mr. Balkenende's CDA - pledged more spending cuts. The VVD pledged to save 20 billion euros through 2015 and an additional 10 billion euros by 2019 by cutting spending on the civil service and social security. The VVD and the CDA argued that the government needed to implement radical measures so as to prevent the country from going bankrupt. They insisted that interest-accruing loans that had been eating up a growing share of the government's budget had to be lowered. The VVD promised to halve the development cooperation budget (the equivalent of 0.8 percent of the country's gross national product) while the PVV pledged to abolish it altogether. Only the CDA promised to maintain the cooperation budget at its current level.

The pre-election debate also focused on immigration. The VVD promised a reduction in benefits for immigrants while the PVV pledged to restrict immigration. In March 2010 the PVV made major gains in local elections advocating a ban on Muslim headscarves in public places. The PvdA was reportedly drawing support from immigrants thanks to its new leader Mr. Job Cohen who had been popular among the immigrant community while serving as Amsterdam Mayor.

Pre-election opinion polls indicated a neck-and-neck race between the leftist PvdA and the VVD on the right. 75.40 per cent of the 12.5 million registered voters turned out at the polls.

As in the 2006 elections no party secured a majority in 2010. The final results gave 31 seats to the VVD and 30 to the PvdA. The PVV came in third with 24 seats while the CDA took 21 seats. In all 61 women (40.67%) were elected - up from 55 (36.67%) in 2006 - setting the highest percentage of women elected to the Dutch House of Representatives.

On 17 June the newly elected House of Representatives held its first session. On 22 June it re-elected Ms. Gerdi A. Verbeet (PvdA) as its Speaker.

After lengthy negotiations on 29 September the CDA - led by Mr. Maxime Verhagen - and the VVD agreed to form a coalition government with parliamentary support from the PVV. On 14 October Queen Beatrix sworn in the new minority government led by Mr. Rutte (VVD). He became the first VVD leader to assume the post since the party's inception in 1948.
Voter turnout
Round no 19 June 2010
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
9'442'977 (75.4%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) 73 1'929'575 20.49
Labour Party (PvdA) 70 1'848'805 19.63
Party for Freedom (PVV) 48 1'454'493 15.45
Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) 75 1'281'886 13.61
Socialist Party (SP) 50 924'696 9.82
Green Left 30 628'096 6.67
Democrats 66 (D66) 50 654'167 6.95
Christian Union 50 305'094 3.24
Party for the Animals (PvdD) 17 122'317 1.30
Reformed Political Party (SGP) 30 163'581 1.74
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Gain/Loss Number of women
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) 31 9 13
Labour Party (PvdA) 30 -3 15
Party for Freedom (PVV) 24 15 4
Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) 21 -20 9
Socialist Party (SP) 15 -10 5
Green Left 10 3 6
Democrats 66 (D66) 10 7 5
Christian Union 5 -1 2
Party for the Animals (PvdD) 2 0 2
Reformed Political Party (SGP) 2 0 0
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
21 to 30 years
31 to 40 years
41 to 50 years
51 to 60 years
61 to 70 years
Distribution of seats according to profession
Civil service and local authority administration 32
Civil society activity 30
Entrepreneur 26
Finance management or business 19
Journalism broadcasting media 10
Physician dentist 8
Armed services/Police 8
Education profession 6
Political party official 5
IT/technology 4
Legal profession 2
IPU Group of the Netherlands (17.06.2010 30.03.2011 12.12.2011)

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