[NetBehaviour] DUTCH GOVERNMENT TROIKA 1 + 1 = 3 – the non-mathematical logic of democracy

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Wed Jun 16 12:15:21 CEST 2010

DUTCH GOVERNMENT TROIKA 1 + 1 = 3 – the non-mathematical logic of democracy

June 15, 2010 by Tjebbe van Tijen
[ tableau image with 3 horses]

This is the coalition government most seriously studied in the coming 
days: two big winners trying to persuade one big loser to combine 
forces. Compared to the elections of 2006 VVD grew from 22 to 31 seats, 
PVV from 9 to 24 and CDA lost 20 seats and now has 21 representatives in 
parliament. Historically speaking the actual argument – supported by 
almost all parties – that governmental participation of the PVV party 
should be taken most serious as they have seen the biggest growth in 
votes, shows how party politics is based on short memory. The 
oscillating favours of Dutch voters in the last two decades resulted in 
the national elections of the year 2003 in sudden growth of votes for 
the Socialist Party (SP). They grew from 9 to 25 seats which is one seat 
more of sudden growth than the now triumphant PVV party of Geert 
Wilders. In 2003 the bright red horse of the SP was maneuvered out of 
government within days. Nobody taking their victory serious. Where the 
PVV has grown in 2010 elections with 15 seats to a total of 24, the SP 
had grown in 2003 with 16 seats to a total of 25 (of which they have 
lost now 10 seats). These are the vicissitudes of the parliamentary 
system in which the act of counting and the value of numbers is most 
peculiar  and has its own non-mathematical logic. As ‘a majority’ in our 
actual democratic system  = 1/2 the numbers total number of seats +1, 
the ‘ars combinatoria’ of selecting party horses that will pull the 
‘wagon of state’ will at one moment in history not value an electoral 
success, while at another moment prize a defeat.

Most parties in the scattered landscape of Dutch party politics enter 
the election process with blind faith and false hope that they will gain 
enough votes to form a government with one or two friends. Most of the 
party leaders refuse to tell the voters on forehand who their friends 
are or will be. The most heard argument has been that is “you voters who 
decide.” After the elections democracy ends up with a decision process 
of wheeling and dealing directed by a hereditary monarch and a lackey 
appointed by her for this occasion. “De kiezer heeft gesproken” (the 
voter has spoken) is the expression of the day, while on the basis of 
marginal differences in actual votes, unpredictable government 
coalitions are wrought which have measures and policies in stall that 
will go against that what the majority of the voters have tried to 
express at the one brief moment in time that they could mark their 
ballot-paper. After one month of staged political debates on television 
and party leaders feigning ‘direct democracy’ on twitter, it is back to 
‘back-room policies’.

version with image and explanatory link on Dutch party system can be 
found at


Tjebbe van Tijen
Imaginary Museum Projects
Dramatizing Historical Information
web-blog: The Limping Messenger

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