Netherlands flag Netherlands: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of the Netherlands

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
King: Willem-Alexander (since 30 April 2013) - hereditary
Prime Minister: Mark Rutte (since 14 October 2010) - serving as prime minister in a caretaker status
Next Election Dates
First Chamber: May 2027
Second Chamber: November 2027
Current Political Context
The Netherlands conducted unplanned early general elections on November 22, 2023, to choose the members of the House of Representatives. Originally scheduled for 2025, the snap election was prompted by the collapse of the fourth Rutte cabinet on July 7, 2023, attributed to differences over immigration policies among the coalition parties—namely, the liberal VVD, the liberal-centrist D66, the center-right CDA, and the conservative CU. The coalition was the fourth in a row under the leadership of Rutte since 2010. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the incumbent leader, declared his decision not to lead his party in the election and announced his retirement from politics.
Following the election, the process of cabinet formation commenced to determine the parties that would come together to constitute the coalition government. However, as of January 2024 no coalition was yet formed, hence Mark Rutte is serving as prime minister in a caretaker status until a new prime minister is named.
The three parties/alliances who obtained the most seats were the nationalist Party for Freedom (37 seats, compared to 17 in the previous election), the GroenLinks–PvdA alliance between the Greens and the Labour Party (25 seats, with Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the EU Commission who stepped down to become candidate as leader), and conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (24 seats).
Main Political Parties
The Netherlands has a two-tier parliament divided into two chambers. The main parties/alliances include:

- Party for Freedom (PVV): right-wing, nationalist, known for hard stands on immigration. The party, led by Geert Wilders, obtained 37 seats of the 150-seat parliament, more than doubling their seats from the previous election in 2021
- GroenLinks–PvdA: alliance between the Greenleft (GL - centre-left, eco-socialist and anti-capitalist political party) and the Labour Party (PvdA - centre-left, social-democratic party)
- People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD): centre-right, based on free market ideas, liberal
- New Social Contract (NSC): centre to centre-right, Christian democracy. A new party that obtained 20 seats in the 2023 election
- Democrats 66 (D66): centre, progressive-liberal and radical-democratic political party
- Farmer–Citizen Movement (BBB): centre-right, agrarian, soft Euroscepticism
- Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA): centre, Christian democrats
- Socialist Party (SP): left-wing, extremely socialist
- DENK: centre-left, minority rights, identity politics
- Party For The Animals (PvdD): environmentalism, animal rights, soft-euroscepticsm
- Forum For Democracy: national conservatism
- Reformed Political Party (SGP): Christian right, social conservatism
- ChristianUnion (CU): centre, orthodox reformed political party with centre-left ideals
- Volt Netherlands (VOLT): centre, it is the Dutch branch of the political movement Volt Europa
- JA21: right to far right, conservative liberalism.
Executive Power
The Chief of State is the King, whose role is cerimonial. Following parliamentary (lower house) elections, the leader of the majority party or of a majority coalition is usually appointed Prime Minister (head of the Government) by the Monarch to serve a four year term. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
Legislative power is bicameral. The parliament is called States General and consists of two chambers: the First Chamber (Senate - upper house, 75 members indirectly elected) and the Second Chamber (House of Representatives - lower house, 150 members directly elected). Members of both chambers serve a four-year term. The Government has the right to dissolve the parliament, either one or both of the chambers.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
6/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: February 2024