The Netherlands: Party Specialists Taking the Floor


Extreme levels of parliamentary specialization characterize the lower house of the Dutch parliament (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal). MPs do not represent specific constituencies or communities. Instead, they represent their party on a specific issue. This has significant consequences for parliamentary speechmaking in the Dutch lower house. In general, only one MP per party participates in a debate: when there is a debate about healthcare, the healthcare spokespersons of all parliamentary party groups are present. Within their policy remit, MPs enjoy considerable autonomy. In essence, Members of Parliament are shopkeepers operating their own business on a specific issue within an overarching brand (Louwerse and Otjes 2015; Vos 2011, 37).

In: Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus and Jorge M. Fernandes (Eds.) The Politics of Legislative Debates. Oxford University Press, pp. 594-612
Tom Louwerse
Tom Louwerse
Associate Professor

Associate Professor in Political Science at Leiden University