The General Election
to the House of Representatives of the States-General of the Netherlands
The States-General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The parliament meets in at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The archaic Dutch word "staten" originally related to the feudal classes in which medieval...
was held in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
on January 22, 2003
The election was held following the resignation of the first Balkenende cabinet
The first cabinet of Jan Peter Balkenende was in office in the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 until 16 October of the same year. The term of 87 days was the shortest since the fifth cabinet of Hendrikus Colijn .Following the 15 May 2002...
on 16 October 2002 after conflicts attributed to the LPF, the new party of the already deceased Pim Fortuyn
Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn was a Dutch politician, civil servant, sociologist, author and professor who formed his own party, Pim Fortuyn List ....
In the early days of the campaign the CDA of incumbent prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...
Jan Peter Balkenende
Jan Pieter "Jan Peter" Balkenende is a Dutch politician of the party Christian Democratic Appeal .He was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 until 14 October 2010, having led four coalition governments, cabinets Balkenende I, II, III and IV, none of which served a full...
and the VVD, the smallest coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...
, saw a major lead.
After TV debates the PvdA (which had experienced a landslide defeat in the 2002 general election) of opposition
In politics, the opposition comprises one or more political parties or other organized groups that are opposed to the government , party or group in political control of a city, region, state or country...
leader Wouter Bos
Wouter Jacob Bos is a Dutch management consultant and former politician of the Labour Party . He was Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the Cabinet Balkenende IV from February 22, 2007 till February 23, 2010...
caught up, overtaking the VVD and regaining some of the territory lost in the previous election. The PvdA also held a leadership election
Between 6 and November 12, 2002 the 60,000 members of the Dutch social-democratic Labour Party could vote for their preferred candidate for top candidate for the 2003 general election....
which got the party considerable attention.
The LPF lost as spectacularly as it won in 2002, with its seat count dropping from 26 to 8.
The exciting race of which party would become the largest was eventually won by the CDA, which went from 43 to 44 seats, ensuring a continuation of Balkenende’s career as prime minister.
Most of the smaller parties on both the left and right side did not experience significant changes. Several other parties (among them Leefbaar Nederland, a 2002 newcomer) didn’t manage to get over the threshold and thus gained no seats. They are not listed here.
After severe disagreements had frustrated the formation of a CDA-PvdA cabinet, a CDA-VVD-D66 cabinet was formed on 27 May 2003, with Balkenende as prime minister.
- Christian Democratic Appeal (Christen-Democratisch Appèl, CDA)
- Christian Union (ChristenUnie, CU)
- Democrats 66 (Democraten 66, D66)
- Green Left (GroenLinks, GL)
- Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid, PvdA)
- Pim Fortuyn List (Lijst Pim Fortuyn, LPF)
- People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, VVD)
- Political Reformed Party (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij, SGP)
- Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij, SP)