People's Party for Freedom and Democracy

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People's Party for Freedom and Democracy

Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie
AbbreviationVVD
Leader Mark Rutte
Chairwoman Christianne van der Wal
Leader in the Senate Annemarie Jorritsma
Leader in the House of Representatives Klaas Dijkhoff
Leader in the European Parliament Hans van Baalen
Founded28 January 1948;71 years ago (1948-01-28)
Merger of Freedom Party and Committee-Oud
HeadquartersMauritskade 21
The Hague
Youth wing Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy
Thinktank Telders Foundation
Membership (2019)Decrease2.svg 25,557 [1]
Ideology Conservative liberalism [2]
Economic liberalism [3] [4] [5]

Pro-Europeanism [6]
Political position Centre-right [7] [8]
European affiliation Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
International affiliation Liberal International
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours Blue and Orange
Senate
12 / 75
House of Representatives
33 / 150
King's Commissioners
4 / 12
States-Provincial
80 / 570
European Parliament
3 / 26
Website
www.vvd.nl

The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Dutch : Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, VVD; Dutch pronunciation: [vɔl(ə)kspɑrtɛi voːr vrɛiɦɛit ɛn deːmoːkraːˈtsi] ) is a conservative-liberal [9] [10] [11] [12] political party in the Netherlands.

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or simply representing the right-wing of the liberal movement. It is a more positive and less radical variant of classical liberalism. Conservative liberal parties tend to combine market liberal policies with more traditional stances on social and ethical issues. Neoconservatism has also been identified as an ideological relative or twin to conservative liberalism, and some similarities exist also between conservative liberalism and national liberalism.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands, also commonly known as Holland, is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

Contents

The VVD, whose forerunner was the Freedom Party, supports private enterprise and economic liberalism. [3] [4] [5]

The Freedom Party was a short-lived conservative-liberal political party in the Netherlands. The PvdV was a successor of the Liberal State Party and predecessor of the modern-day People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Economic liberalism is an economic system organized on individual lines, which means the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by individuals or households rather than by collective institutions or organizations. It includes a spectrum of different economic policies, such as freedom of movement, but its basis is on strong support for a market economy and private property in the means of production. Although economic liberals can also be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, they tend to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition.

Mark Rutte has been the party's leader since 31 May 2006 and on 14 October 2010 became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, marking the first time that the VVD led a government. The First Rutte cabinet's parliamentary majority was provided by the Christian Democratic Appeal and the Party for Freedom, but this majority became unstable when the latter refused to support austerity measures amid the Euro crisis. [13] Therefore, a general election was held in September 2012. [14] The VVD remained the largest party, with 41 seats. From November 2012 until March 2017, the VVD was the senior partner in the Second Rutte cabinet, a "purple" coalition government with the Labour Party. VVD remained the largest party in the March 2017 election (though was reduced to 33 seats); therefore, Rutte was expected to remain as Prime Minister. However, continuing the existing coalition was impossible, as the Labour Party had lost 29 seats, therefore a centre-right coalition was negotiated with the D66, CU and CDA, which became the Third Rutte Cabinet.

Mark Rutte Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Mark Rutte is a Dutch politician serving as the 50th and current Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010 and Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy since 2006. Rutte was previously appointed as State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment from 22 July 2002 to 17 June 2004 and as State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science from 17 June 2004 until 27 June 2006, when he was elected to succeed Jozias van Aartsen as the new VVD Leader.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his capacity as chair of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is de facto the head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates its policy with his cabinet. The current Dutch Prime Minister is Mark Rutte, in office since 2010.

First Rutte cabinet cabinet

The First Rutte cabinet, also called the Rutte–Verhagen cabinet was the cabinet of the Netherlands from 14 October 2010 until 5 November 2012. The cabinet was formed by the political parties People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) after the election of 2010. The right-wing cabinet was a minority government in the House of Representatives but was supported by the Party for Freedom (PVV) for a majority. It was the first of three cabinets of Mark Rutte, the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy as Prime Minister, with Maxime Verhagen the Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal serving as Deputy Prime Minister.

History

1948–1971

The VVD was founded in 1948 as a continuation of the Freedom Party, [15] which was a continuation of the interbellum Liberal State Party, [16] which in turn was a continuation of Liberal Union. [17] They were joined by the Comité-Oud, a group of liberal members of the Labour Party (PvdA), led by Pieter Oud. The liberals within the Labour Party were primarily members of the pre-war social liberal Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB), who went on to join the Labour Party in the post-war Doorbraak ("Breakthrough") movement. However, they believed that the Labour Party was becoming too socialist for their liking. Oud became the merged party's first leader.

The Liberal State Party, "the Freedom League", was a conservative liberal political party in the Netherlands from 1921 to 1948. It is historically linked to the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), a major Dutch political party.

Liberal Union (Netherlands) Dutch political party

The Liberal Union was a conservative liberal political party in the Netherlands. A major party in its time, the Liberals were one of the historic predecessors of the Liberal State Party, and therefore of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy.

The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands.

Pieter Oud, co-founder and Leader from 1948 to 1963 Pieter Oud 1956 (1).jpg
Pieter Oud, co-founder and Leader from 1948 to 1963

Between 1948 and 1952 the VVD took part in the broad cabinets led by the Labour Party Prime Minister Willem Drees. The party was a junior partner with only eight seats to the Catholic People's Party (KVP) and Labour Party, which both had around thirty seats (out of 100). The Drees cabinets laid the foundation for the welfare state [ citation needed ] and decolonisation of the Dutch East Indies [ citation needed ]. In the Dutch general election of 1952 the VVD gained one seat, but did not join the government. In the Dutch general election of 1956 they increased their total, receiving thirteen seats, but were still kept out[ citation needed ] of government until the general election of 1959, which was held early because of cabinet crisis. This time they gained nineteen seats and the party entered government alongside the Protestant Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP), Christian Historical Union CHU and the Roman Catholic KVP.

Willem Drees 37th Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Willem Drees Sr. was a Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA) and historian who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 7 August 1948 to 22 December 1958.

Catholic Peoples Party Dutch political party

The Catholic People's Party was a Catholic Christian democratic political party in the Netherlands. The party was founded in 1945 as a continuation of the Roman Catholic State Party, which was a continuation of the General League of Roman Catholic Caucuses. During its entire existence, the party was in government. In 1980 the party merged with the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) and the Christian Historical Union (CHU) to form the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

Welfare state Government promoting its peoples welfare

The welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for citizens unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. Sociologist T. H. Marshall described the modern welfare state as a distinctive combination of democracy, welfare, and capitalism.

In 1963, Oud retired from politics, and was succeeded by the Minister of the Interior Edzo Toxopeus. With Toxopeus as its Leader, the VVD lost three seats in the 1963 election, but remained in government. In 1962, a substantial group of disillusioned VVD-members founded the Liberal Democratic Centre (Liberaal Democratisch Centrum, LDC) which was intended to introduce a more twentieth-century liberal direction pointing to the classical liberal VVD. In 1966, frustrated with their hopeless efforts, LDC members departed the VVD altogether and went on now to form an entirely political party, the Democrats 66 (D66).

Edzo Toxopeus Dutch politician

Edzo Hendrik Toxopeus was a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and lawyer. He was granted the honorary title of Minister of State on 22 January 1985.

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights, capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanisation and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States. Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the classical economic ideas espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism and progress. The term classical liberalism has often been applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.

In 1965, there also occurred a conflict between VVD Ministers and their counterparts from the KVP and ARP in the Marijnen cabinet. The cabinet fell and without an election it was replaced by the KVP–ARP–PvdA cabinet under Jo Cals, which itself also fell the next year. In the following 1967 election the VVD remained relatively stable and entered yet again the cabinet under Prime Minister Piet de Jong.

During this period the VVD had loose ties with other liberal organisations and together they formed the neutral pillar. This included the liberal papers Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant and Algemeen Handelsblad , the broadcaster AVRO and the employers' organisation VNO.

1971–1994

Hans Wiegel, Leader from 1971 until 1982 Hans Wiegel 1981 (1).jpg
Hans Wiegel, Leader from 1971 until 1982

In the Dutch general election of 1971 the VVD lost one seat and the cabinet lost its majority. A cabinet was formed by the Christian democratic parties, the VVD and the Labour Party offshoot Democratic Socialists '70. This cabinet collapsed after a few months. Meanwhile, the charismatic young MP Hans Wiegel had attracted considerable attention. He became the new leader of the VVD: in 1971 he became the new parliamentary leader, and in 1972 he was appointed lijsttrekker . Under Wiegel's leadership, the party oriented towards a new political course, reforming the welfare state, cutting taxes etc. Wiegel did not shrink from conflict with the Labour Party and the trade unions. With this new course came a new electorate: working class and middle-class voters who, because of individualisation and depillarisation, were more easy to attract.

The course proved to be profitable: in the heavily polarised general election of 1972 the VVD gained six seats. The VVD was kept out of government by the social democratic and Christian democratic cabinet led by Joop den Uyl. Although the ties between the VVD and other organisations within the neutral pillar became ever looser, the number of neutral organisations, friendly to the VVD, expanded. The TROS and later Veronica, new broadcasters which entered the Netherlands Public Broadcasting, were friendly to the VVD. In 1977 the VVD again won six seats bringing its total to twenty-eight seats. When lengthy formation talks between the social democrats and Christian democrats eventually led to a final break between the two parties, the VVD formed cabinet with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), with a majority of only two seats.

In the general election of 1981 the VVD lost two seats and its partner the CDA lost even more. The cabinet was without a majority and a CDA, Labour and D66 cabinet was formed, falling after only a few months. In 1982 Hans Wiegel left Parliament to become Queen's Commissioner in Friesland and was succeeded by Ed Nijpels. In the general election of 1982 Nijpels' VVD gained ten seats, bringing its total up to 36. Once again, it formed a cabinet with the CDA under CDA Leader Ruud Lubbers. The cabinet began a programme of radical reform of the welfare state, which is still in place today. The VVD lost nine seats in the 1986 election but the cabinet nonetheless retained its majority. The losses were blamed on Nijpels, who stood down as leader of the VVD. He was succeeded by Joris Voorhoeve. In 1989 the CDA–VVD cabinet fell over a minor issue, and the VVD lost five seats in the subsequent election, leaving only twenty-two. The VVD was kept out of government, and Voorhoeve stood down and was succeeded by the charismatic intellectual Frits Bolkestein.

1994–present

Frits Bolkestein, Leader from 1990 until 1998 Frits Bolkestein 1984 (1).jpg
Frits Bolkestein, Leader from 1990 until 1998

Bolkestein's VVD was one of the winners of the Dutch general election of 1994: the party gained nine seats. It formed an unprecedented government with the Labour Party (PvdA) and the social liberal Democrats 66. The so-called "purple cabinet" led by Wim Kok was the first Dutch government without any Christian parties since 1918. Like many of his predecessors, Bolkestein remained in parliament. His political style was characterised by some as "opposition to one's own government". This style was very successful and the VVD gained another seven seats in the 1998 election, becoming the second largest party in parliament with thirty-eight seats. The VVD formed a second Purple cabinet with the Labour Party and D66. Bolkestein left Dutch politics in 1999 to become European Commissioner. He was replaced by the more technocratic and social liberal Hans Dijkstal.

In the heavily polarised Dutch general election of 2002, dominated by the rise and murder of Pim Fortuyn, the VVD lost fourteen seats, leaving only twenty-four. The VVD nonetheless entered a cabinet with the Christian Democratic Appeal and the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF). Dijkstal stood down and was replaced by the popular former Minister of Finance Gerrit Zalm. After a few months, Zalm "pulled the plug" on the First Balkenende cabinet, after infighting between Pim Fortuyn List ministers Eduard Bomhoff and Herman Heinsbroek.

In the subsequent general election of 2003, the VVD with Gerrit Zalm as lijsttrekker gained four seats, making a total of twenty-eight. The party had expected to do much better, having adopted most of Fortuyn's proposals on immigration and integration. The VVD unwillingly entered the Second Balkenende cabinet with Zalm returning as Minister of Finance and as Deputy Prime Minister. On 2 September 2004, Geert Wilders, a Member of the House of Representatives, left the party after a dispute with Parliamentary leader Van Aartsen. He chose to continue as an Independent in the House of Representatives. On 27 November 2004 Gerrit Zalm was succeeded as Leader by the Parliamentary leader of the VVD in the House of Representatives Jozias van Aartsen.

In 2006 the party lost a considerable number of seats in the municipal elections, prompting parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen to step down. Willibrord van Beek was subsequently appointed parliamentary leader ad interim. In the subsequent party leadership run-off Mark Rutte was elected as the leader, defeating Rita Verdonk and Jelleke Veenendaal. [18]

Gerrit Zalm, Leader from 2002 until 2004 GZalm.jpg
Gerrit Zalm, Leader from 2002 until 2004

The general election of 2006 did not start off well for the VVD: Mark Rutte was criticised by his own parliamentary party for being invisible in the campaign, and he was unable to break the attention away from the duel between current Christian democratic Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Wouter Bos of the Labour Party. However, the VVD's campaign started relatively late. [19] The election polls showed losses for the VVD; the former VVD deputy Prime Minister Hans Wiegel blamed a poor VVD campaign for this, caused by the heavily contested VVD leadership run-off between Mark Rutte and Rita Verdonk earlier in the year. Verdonk had her eyes on the deputy-minister post, while cabinet posts are normally decided upon by the political leader of the VVD. [20] On election day, the party received enough votes for twenty-two seats, a loss of six seats. When the official election results were announced on Monday 27 November 2006, preferential votes became known as well, showing that Rita Verdonk, the second candidate on the list, had obtained more votes than the VVD's top candidate, Mark Rutte. Rutte had received 553,200 votes, while Verdonk had received 620,555. [21] This led Verdonk to call for a party commission that would investigate the party leadership position, as a consequence of the situation of her obtaining more votes in the general election than Rutte, creating a short-lived crisis in the party. [22] A crisis was averted when Rutte called for an ultimatum on his leadership, which Verdonk had to reconcile to, by rejecting her proposal for a party commission. [23] During 2007, signs of VVD infighting continued to play in the media. In June 2007, the former VVD minister Dekker presented a report on the previous election, showing that the VVD lacked clear leadership roles, however the report did not single out individuals for blame for the party's losses. [24]

Mark Rutte, Leader since 2006 and Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010 Mark Rutte-6 (cropped).jpg
Mark Rutte, Leader since 2006 and Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010

After Verdonk renewed her criticism of the party in September 2007, she was expelled from the parliamentary faction, and subsequently relinquished her membership of the party, after reconciliation attempts had proven futile. [25] [26] Verdonk started her own political movement, Proud of the Netherlands, subsequently. In opinion polls held after Verdonk's exit, the VVD was set to lose close to ten parliamentary seats in the next election. [27] [28] [29]

Jan van Zanen, chairman of the VVD's party board, announced in November 2007 that he would step down in May 2008, a year before his term would end. The rest of the board also announced that they would step down. On the same day of his announcement, honorary member Hans Wiegel called for the resignation of the board, because it could not keep Verdonk in the party. [30] [31] Wiegel also opined that the VVD should become part of a larger liberal movement, that would encompass the social liberals Democrats 66, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders and Rita Verdonk's Proud of the Netherlands movement, although he found little resonance for this ideas from others. [32]

In 2008, the VVD chose a new party chairman, Ivo Opstelten, the outgoing mayor of Rotterdam. Mark Rutte announced at the celebration of the party's sixth decennial that he would rewrite the foundational programme of the party that was enacted in the early 1980s, and offer the new principles for consideration by the party's members in the fall congress.

After the Dutch general election of 2010 the VVD became the largest party with 31 seats and was the senior party in a centre-right minority First Rutte cabinet with the Christian Democratic Appeal supported by the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders to obtain a majority. Rutte was sworn in as Prime Minister on 21 October 2010, becoming both the first VVD Prime Minister ever, and the first liberal to hold the office in 92 years. However, on 21 April 2012, after failed negotiations with the Party for Freedom on renewed budget cuts, the government became unstable and Mark Rutte deemed it likely that a new election would be held in 2012. [33] On election day, 12 September 2012, the VVD remained the largest party in Parliament, winning 41 seats, a gain of 10 seats.

After the 2012 general election the VVD entered into a ruling coalition with the Labour Party as their junior coalition partner. This coalition lasted a full term, but lost its majority at the 2017 election; the VVD itself lost eight seats, though remained the largest party with 33. [34]

Name

The VVD was originally a merger of the Party of Freedom and Freethinking Democratic dissenters within the Labour Party. In this name, both tendencies, classical liberalism ("Freedom") and social liberalism ("People's Party"; "Democracy") are represented. Despite being a liberal party, the VVD did not openly call itself "liberal", mainly because of the for some still lingering negative connotations of liberalism developed during the Great Depression and World War II.[ citation needed ]

The most common English translation of the name is the literal translation, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. [35] [36] [37]

Ideology and issues

The VVD is a party founded on liberal philosophy, [39] traditionally being the most ardent supporter of 'free markets' of all Dutch political parties, promoting political, economic liberalism, classical liberalism, cultural liberalism, but also (in contrast to this) committed to the idea of the welfare state.

Post 1971, the party became more populist, although some conservative liberal elements remain. [4] The 2006 leadership election was interpreted by many as a conflict between a liberal group and a conservative group within the VVD, with the distinctly liberal Rutte beating conservative Verdonk. [40] The results were, with 52% voting for Rutte and 46% for Verdonk. [41]

Liberal Manifesto

The principles of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy are outlined in the "Liberal Manifesto" (Liberaal Manifest) and the election programmes. The Liberal Manifesto is a general outlook on the direction of the party would like to mirror itself and is an extension of the party's foundational principles. [42] The election programmes are more oriented to practical politics, for example, winning the elections on-the-day and by any means possible.

The last Liberal Manifesto of the VVD was published in September 2005. [42] It develops a broad outline around the themes of democracy, security, freedom and citizenship, along with a vision of the future of party's internal structure. Below some of the points from the Manifesto are presented:

Democracy

  • The Manifesto calls for a directly elected Prime Minister, whereby voters could express their preference on the ballot.
  • The question of (advisory) referendums is not favourable.
  • Mayors should be directly elected by the people.
  • Commitment to the Four Freedoms of the European Single Market.

Security

  • A common policy on defence and security in the European Union is called for.

Freedom

  • The principle of non-discrimination should be given more importance than the exercise of religion.[ citation needed ]
  • "Social rights" are to be continued. These are not simply rights, but they also create obligations.
  • Euthanasia is part of a person's right to self-determination.
  • Commitment to an open economy, with a "regulated free-market", including patents.
  • Support for the freedom of contract. No right for workers to enter into nationally binding collective bargaining agreements.

Citizenship

  • Minimise the option of dual citizenship.
  • Social security should only be fully open for Dutch nationals. Migrants would have to integrate in order to become citizens.

Electoral results

Klaas Dijkhoff, Leader in the House of Representatives since 2017 Klaas Dijkhoff 2015 (2).jpg
Klaas Dijkhoff, Leader in the House of Representatives since 2017
Annemarie Jorritsma, Leader in the Senate since 2015 Mw. Jorrisma-Lebbink Voorzitter van Koninklijke Schuttevaer.JPG
Annemarie Jorritsma, Leader in the Senate since 2015
Hans van Baalen, Leader in the European Parliament since 2009 Johannes Cornelis van Baalen MEP 1 - Diliff.jpg
Hans van Baalen, Leader in the European Parliament since 2009

Parliament

Election yearHouse of RepresentativesGovernmentNotes
# of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
1948 391,9087.9 (#5)
8 / 100
Increase2.svg 2in coalition
1952 470,8208.8 (#5)
9 / 100
Increase2.svg 1in opposition
1956 502,3258.7 (#4)
9 / 100
13 / 150
Steady2.svg 0
Increase2.svg 4
in opposition
1959 732,65812.2 (#3)
19 / 150
Increase2.svg 6in coalition
1963 643,83910.2 (#3)
16 / 150
Decrease2.svg 3in coalition
1967 738,20210.7 (#3)
17 / 150
Increase2.svg 1in coalition
1971 653,09210.3 (#3)
16 / 150
Decrease2.svg 1in coalition
1972 1,068,37514.4 (#3)
22 / 150
Increase2.svg 6in opposition
1977 1,492,68917.0 (#3)
28 / 150
Increase2.svg 6in coalition
1981 1,504,29317.3 (#3)
26 / 150
Decrease2.svg 2in opposition
1982 1,897,98623.1 (#3)
36 / 150
Increase2.svg 10in coalition
1986 1,595,37717.4 (#3)
27 / 150
Decrease2.svg 9in coalition
1989 1,295,40214.6 (#3)
22 / 150
Decrease2.svg 5in opposition
1994 1,792,40120.0 (#3)
31 / 150
Increase2.svg 9in coalition
1998 2,124,97124.7 (#2)
38 / 150
Increase2.svg 7in coalition
2002 1,466,72215.4 (#3)
24 / 150
Decrease2.svg 14in coalition
2003 1,728,70717.9 (#3)
28 / 150
Increase2.svg 4in coalition
2006 1,443,31214.7 (#4)
22 / 150
Decrease2.svg 6in opposition
2010 1,929,57520.5 (#1)
31 / 150
Increase2.svg 9in coalitionLargest party
2012 2,504,94826.6 (#1)
41 / 150
Increase2.svg 10in coalitionLargest party
2017 2,238,35121.3 (#1)
33 / 150
Decrease2.svg 8in coalitionLargest party
Election yearSenateGovernmentNotes
# of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
1995
23 / 100
Increase2.svg 11in coalitionLargest party
199939,80925,3 (#2)
19 / 100
Decrease2.svg 4in coalition
200331,02619,2 (#3)
15 / 100
Decrease2.svg 4in coalition
2007 31,36019,2 (#2)
14 / 100
Decrease2.svg 1in opposition
2011 34,59020.83 (#1)
16 / 100
Increase2.svg 2in coalitionLargest party
2015 28,52316.87 (#1)
13 / 100
Decrease2.svg 3in coalitionLargest party

European Parliament

Election year# of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/–
1979 914,78716.1 (#3)
4 / 25
1984 1,002,68518.9 (#3)
5 / 25
Increase2.svg 1
1989 714,72113.6 (#3)
3 / 25
Decrease2.svg 2
1994 740,45117.9 (#3)
6 / 31
Increase2.svg 3
1999 698,05019.7 (#3)
6 / 31
Steady2.svg 0
2004 629,19813.2 (#3)
4 / 27
Decrease2.svg 2
2009 518,64311.4 (#4)
3 / 25
Decrease2.svg 1
2014 571,17612.0 (#4)
3 / 26
Steady2.svg 0

Representation

Members of the Third Rutte cabinet

Ministers PortfolioAssumed office
Mark Rutte 2015 (1).jpg Mark Rutte
(born 1967)
[43]
Prime Minister General Affairs 14 October 2010
Stef Blok 2015 (1).jpg Stef Blok
(born 1964)
[44]
Minister Foreign Affairs 7 March 2018
Eric Wiebes 2015 (1).jpg Eric Wiebes
(born 1963)
[45]
Minister Economic Affairs and
Climate Policy
26 October 2017
Cora-van-nieuwenhuizen-1383750554 (cropped).jpg Cora van Nieuwenhuizen
(born 1963)
[46]
Minister Infrastructure and
Water Management
26 October 2017
Ministers without portfolio Title (Ministry)Assumed office
Sander Dekker 2015 (1).jpg Sander Dekker
(born 1975)
[47]
Minister Legal Protection

(within Justice and
Security
)
26 October 2017
Bruno Bruins.jpg Bruno Bruins
(born 1963)
[48]
Minister Medical Care

(within Health, Welfare
and Sport
)
26 October 2017
State Secretaries TitleAssumed office
Mark Harbers - portrait.jpg Mark Harbers
(born 1969)
[49]
State Secretary • Integration
• Immigration
• Asylum Affairs
• Minority Affairs

(within Justice and
Security
)
26 October 2017
Barbara Visser 2012 (1).jpg Barbara Visser
(born 1977)
[50]
State Secretary • Personnel Affairs
• Equipment Policy
• Special Ops Policy

(within Defence)
26 October 2017
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Tamara van Ark
(born 1974)
[51]
State Secretary • Social Security
• Unemployment Affairs
• Occupational Safety
• Youth Policy
• Poverty Policy
• Equality
• Emancipation

(within Social Affairs and
Employment
)
26 October 2017
Source: (in English) Members of the government Rijksoverheid

Members of the States General

Members of the House of Representatives

Current members of the House of Representatives since the general election of 2017:

Members of the Senate

Current members of the Senate since the Senate election of 2015:

Members of the European Parliament

Current members of the European Parliament since the European Parliamentary election of 2014:

The MEPs of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy are part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party and Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group in the European parliament.

Municipal and provincial government

Provincial government

The VVD provides four out of twelve King's Commissioners. The VVD is part of every college of the Provincial-Executives Gedeputeerde Staten except for Friesland.

In the following figure one can see the election results of the provincial elections of 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 per province. It shows the areas where the VVD is strong, namely the Randstad urban area that consists out of the provinces North and South Holland, Utrecht and (parts of) Flevoland. The party is weak in peripheral provinces like Friesland, Overijssel, Zeeland, and Limburg.

Province2003200720112015
VotesSeatsVotesSeatsVotesSeatsVotesSeats
Drenthe 18.0%
9 / 51
16.8%
8 / 41
19.0%
9 / 41
15.2%
7 / 41
Flevoland 22.7%
11 / 47
22.8%
9 / 39
22.9%
9 / 39
16.7%
7 / 39
Friesland 10.9%
6 / 55
10.8%
5 / 43
13.8%
6 / 43
11.0%
5 / 43
Groningen 13.4%
7 / 55
11.7%
5 / 43
13.2%
6 / 43
9.2%
4 / 43
Gelderland 16.9%
13 / 75
16.6%
9 / 53
19.1%
11 / 55
15.8%
9 / 55
Limburg 14.5%
9 / 63
14.5%
7 / 47
16.0%
8 / 47
11.5%
5 / 47
North Brabant 19.0%
15 / 79
18.9%
11 / 55
20.8%
11 / 55
17.5%
10 / 55
North Holland 23.0%
20 / 83
22.7%
13 / 55
22.3%
13 / 55
18.6%
11 / 55
Overijssel 13.7%
9 / 63
13.6%
6 / 47
15.8%
8 / 47
12.4%
6 / 47
South Holland 21.4%
18 / 83
20.3%
12 / 55
20.7%
12 / 55
17.6%
10 / 55
Utrecht 20.7%
14 / 63
20.1%
10 / 47
22.1%
11 / 47
17.5%
9 / 47
Zeeland 14.5%
7 / 47
14.5%
6 / 39
16.8%
7 / 39
13.5%
6 / 39
source: www.verkiezingsuitslagen.nl
King's Commissioners Province Assumed office
Burgemeester-brok-1366958702 (cropped).jpg Arno Brok
(born 1968)
Friesland 1 March 2017
2011-03-02 provinciehuis arnhem 18.JPG Clemens Cornielje
(born 1958)
Gelderland 31 August 2005
JRemkes.jpg Johan Remkes
(born 1951)
North Holland 1 July 2010
Open monumentendag bij Fort Jutphaas en Kasteel Rijnhuizen (36961209546) (cropped).jpg Willibrord van Beek
(born 1949)
Utrecht 15 September 2013

Municipal government

119 of the 380 Dutch Mayors are member of the VVD since 2018. Furthermore, the party has about 250 aldermen and 1100 members of municipal councils. The VVD provides the mayors of several major cities like; the Mayor of The Hague Pauline Krikke, the Mayor of Utrecht Jan van Zanen, the Mayor of Eindhoven John Jorritsma and the Mayor of Tilburg Theo Weterings.

Electorate

Historically the VVD electorate consisted mainly of secular middle-class [54] and upper-class voters, with a strong support from entrepreneurs. Under the leadership of Wiegel, the VVD started to expand its appeal to working class voters.

Organisation

Leadership

Party Board

PositionMemberPositionMember
Chair Christianne van der Wal Vice Chair Eric Wetzels
Secretary Stephanie ter BorgTreasurerTon van Nimwegen
Recruitment and
Fundraising
Fons van RooijCommunication and
Campaign Affairs
Michiel Krom
Education and TrainingLennart Salemink

Organisational structure

The highest organ of the VVD is the General Assembly, in which all members present have a single vote. It convenes usually twice every year. It appoints the party board and decides on the party programme.

The order of the First Chamber, Second Chamber and European Parliament candidates list is decided by a referendum under all members voting by internet, phone or mail. If contested, the lijsttrekker of a candidates lists is appointed in a separate referendum in advance. Since 2002 the General Assembly can call for a referendum on other subjects too. The present chairman of the board was elected this way.

About 90 members elected by the members in meetings of the regional branches form the Party Council, which advises the Party Board in the months that the General Assembly does not convene. This is an important forum within the party. The party board handles the daily affairs of the party.

Linked organisations

The independent youth organisation that has a partnership agreement with the VVD is the Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy (Jongeren Organisatie Vrijheid en Democratie, JOVD), which is a member of the Liberal Youth Movement of the European Union and the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth.

The education institute of the VVD is the Haya van Someren Foundation. The Telders Foundation is the party's scientific institute and publishes the magazine Liberaal Reveil every two months. The party published the magazine Liber bi-monthly.

International organisations

The VVD is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party and Liberal International.

Relationships to other parties

The VVD has always been a very independent party. The VVD cooperates on the European and the international level with the social liberal Democraten 66. It has a long history of coalitions with the Christian Democratic Appeal and its Christian democratic predecessors, but was in government with the social democratic Labour Party from 1994 to 2002 and again between 2012 and 2017.

The VVD participates in the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, a democracy assistance organisation of seven Dutch political parties.

See also

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