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Could a minority government be the solution for Dutch politics?

In an opinion piece in Dutch newspaper NRC, Corné Smit, teaching and research staff member at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law, discusses the possibilities and possible advantages of a minority government.

He is quick to point out the main problem of a minority government which is that the opposition can send the government packing at any moment. ‘By definition, government coalition partners of a minority government do not have a parliamentary majority. Without clear agreements or safeguards, a government crisis can occur at any moment.’ 

Smit therefore looks towards Scandinavia. There, it is possible to have a minority government due to a phenomenon called ‘bloc politics’. Smit: ‘With bloc politics, all parties are split into two blocs: a red bloc of all the left wing parties and a blue bloc of all the right wing parties. If a minority government is formed by, for example, a left wing party, all other left wing parties are expected to tolerate that government.’

Another option would be to include certain obligations in the vote of no confidence; as is the case in Spain. ‘A prime minister can only be dismissed there if a new prime minister can be appointed immediately. (…) opposition parties need to reach a consensus about an alternative plan on government policy if they want to get rid of the government.’ 

More information

You can read the opinion piece in Dutch newspaper NRC (€).

Image by Hansjorg Keller via Unsplash.

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