The Netherlands: The reinvention of consensus democracy


We examine the development of opposition party behaviour in the Dutch Tweede Kamer between 1998 and 2015. We look at the effect of three major events on opposition party behaviour: the entry of a major radical right-wing populist party (in 2002), the global financial crisis (in 2008) and the advent of minority governments (in 2012). We find that consensus democracy is alive. During the economic crisis, the established rules of the game were reinvented to allow for productive cooperation between effectively a minority government and ‘constructive’ opposition parties. Since the crisis, opposition parties with earlier government experience have been increasingly active.

In: Elisabetta De Giorgi and Gabriella Ilonszki (Eds.) Opposition Parties in European Legislatures: Conflict or Consensus?, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.