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Knowledge gap due to exodus of Dutch MPs

With the exodus of departing parliamentarians, which seems to have gained momentum this summer, the loss of experience in parliament after the upcoming general election in the Netherlands will be considerable. A cause for concern according to Wim van De Camp, former CDA MP, and Wim Voermans, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law in Leiden.

With 23 years of experience, Van de Camp was seen as a mentor for new parliamentarians within the CDA party, says Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant. At the time, his 'instruction class' was used to transfer knowledge to the new MPs. Van de Camp believes that after the upcoming general election, the same role will once again be played by seasoned MPs.

'Being a member of parliament is a craft that you have to learn and is certainly no soft option', Wim Voermans also emphasises. 'As a member of parliament, you’re first and foremost working on legislation. You have to deal with amendments, sometimes a hundred pass by in one sitting which can be exhausting. As a member of parliament you might also make mistakes. You could be late or vote the wrong way. It was once calculated that it takes at least three years to get the hang of it.’

'It was once calculated that it takes at least three years to get the hang of it.'

According to Voermans, last September's budget debate was a prime example of how a relatively inexperienced parliament can fall short. 'Another possible issue is that the rapid turnover of MPs leads to an imbalance in parliament. People who retain their seats have an increasing advantage over the newcomers and so one party can have relatively more influence than another,' Voermans adds in the Volkskrant (€).


Photo at the top of the article by Marjoline Delahaye on Unsplash

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