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  Who can vote and for whom? How the Dutch electoral system works
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Feb 14, 2018 08:29pm
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CategoryElection Guide
News DateMonday, January 30, 2017 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new lower house of parliament on March 15. Here are some key facts about how the Dutch political system works.

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy and the king (or queen) is the official head of state.

There are four layers of government in the Netherlands: local councils, provincial councils, the lower house of parliament or tweede kamer and the upper house of parliament or senate. The water boards are also directly elected as a sort of side step, as is the European parliament.

There are 150 MPs in the lower house or parliament and they are elected every four years, or earlier if the government collapses (which happens quite often). Their job is to make new laws and keep an eye on what ministers are up to.

The 75 members of the senate are elected every four years – out of step two years with the lower house – by members of the 12 provincial councils. The senate’s job is to ‘reflect’ on the implications of new legislation. The senate cannot amend legislation – it can only accept or reject it.

A government which does not have majority support in senate can’t be certain its more controversial policies will be approved. The outgoing government has had to piece together all sorts of political coalitions to get some of its measures into law.
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