2017 Hennish federal election
All 180 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
91 seats needed for a majority
|Turnout||79.4% ( 0.9%)|
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Results of the 2017 federal election in all 10 regions.
The election was triggered by the Progressive Democratic Party's (VDP) withdrawal of support for Premier Michiel Hagan's centre-right government in June. The coalition, formed after the 2014 election, consisted of Hagan's National People's Party (NVP), the Agrarian–Farmer's Party (ABP), the Party for the Petois (PP), LIVE and the People's Party for Sotirian Democracy (VSD). It lacked a majority in the Chamber, and as such relied on support from the VDP throughout its three years of existence.
The Socialist Labour Party became the largest party for the first time since 2010, winning 49 seats on 23.2% of the vote. The VDP achieved the best result in its 28-year history, finishing in second place with 40 seats. The NVP received its worst result since 1978, winning 36 seats and falling to third place for the first time ever. The other big winner of the elections were the far-right Patriot's March, who gained six seats for a total of 16 seats in the Chamber. The Greens maintained their 2014 result of 11 seats, whilst the other represented parties acheived mix results. Provisional results were confirmed on the morning of 2 September, whilst the official results were certified on 6 September. The elected members were sworn in on 13 September.
Following the election, Hagan tendered his resignation as Premier, and Stadtholder Adriaan Wilhelm Paulus officially tasked SAP leader Rupert van Bleiswijk with forming a new government. The SAP reached a coalition agreement with the VDP to form a minority grand coalition, supported from the opposition by the PP and ABP. Van Bleiswijk was invested as Premier following a vote in the Chamber on 5 October. The new government became the fifth grand coalition in the history of the Third Republic, and the first such consisting of centre-left and centre parties.
At the previous federal election in 2014, the incumbent centre-left government led by the Socialist Labour Party (SAP) lost its majority. The National People's Party (NVP) became the largest party for the first time since before the 2005 financial crisis, whilst the Progressive Democratic Party (VDP) gained two seats. The Patriot's March (MdP) won double-digit seats for the first time, meanwhile left-leaning parties that participated in or supported the SAP govenment fared poorly. The NVP reached an agreement with the four smallest parties in the Chamber: the Agrarian–Farmer's Party (ABP), the Party for the Petois (PP), LIVE and the People's Party for Sotirian Democracy (VSD) to form a centre-right coalition, the first since 2002. However, it lacked an outright majority in the Chamber, falling eleven seats short of the 91 seats necessary for a majority. The coalition reached a subsequent agreement with the VDP, whereby the party would abstain in motions of confidence and important budgetary votes in exchange for policy concessions.
In November 2016, the VDP threatened to pull support for the government over its budget proposals. However, following mediation between them and the government parties, the VDP announced it would maintain its agreement and abstain from the budget later that month. Six months later in May 2017, allegations of leaked contracts by NVP and ABP government ministers to construction companies prompted internal conflicts within cabinet. On 16 June, the VDP formally announced its decision to withdraw support for the government and that it would support an SAP-initiated motion of no confidence in the Ministers of Housing & Infrastructure, and Economic Affairs. Before these motions could be debated in the Chamber, Premier Michiel Hagan called for snap elections to be held on 1 September 2017. The vote necessary for this to be called took place on 26 June, and passed the two-thirds threshold required for the election to take place.
Article 42.2 of the Basic Law (Algemene Wet) states that a new Chamber of Deputies shall be elected no later than 28 days after the fourth anniversary of the first sitting of the current Chamber of Deputies, excluding public holidays. Article 42.3 states that the first sitting of the new Chamber must occur within 28 days after the election date, excluding public holidays.
The Electoral Law of 2000 legislates for fixed-term election dates, automatically scheduling an election for the first Friday of September four years after the previous election, or the second Friday of September if the former falls on a public holiday. An election prior to the fixed date can be called for in the Chamber via a two-thirds supermajority vote. Under the Law, the election had been scheduled for 7 September 2018. However, following a successful motion for a snap election in the Chamber on 28 June 2017, the election was scheduled for 1 September 2017, maintaining the convention of the first Friday in September.
The 180 members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected by open list proportional representation in 10 multi-member constituencies corresponding to the 10 regions of Hennehouwe, with seats allocated according to the Berger method. There is no electoral threshold, meaning the effective threshold depends on the size of the region: in the smallest region, Oudkessel-Witburg (7 seats), the effective threshold is around 10%, whilst in the largest region, Flamia (40 seats), it is closer to 2-2.5%. Seats are allocated to the regions in proportion to population, with a review of seat distribution carried out one year after the last census. For an outright majority in the Chamber, a party (or coalition of parties) must have at least 91 seats. Due to the nature of Hennehouwe's multi-party system, it is rare for any one party to singlehandedly obtain a parliamentary majority, and thus coalitions and/or agreements between different parties is necessary.
Electors vote by casting a preference for a personal candidate from their chosen list, rather than voting for a party list outright. If a candidate receives a quota of either 20% of 1/xth of votes (x equalling the number of seats in that region) or 33% of the total votes for their own list, they will bypass the rest of the list in the allocation of seats regardless of their placement on the electoral list. If multiple candidates from a list pass this threshold, their ordering is determined based on the number of votes received. Otherwise, the remaining seats are allocated according to the placement of candidates on the list. Following concerns over the size of ballot papers during the 2016 Flamish regional election, the Electoral Law was amended to limit the number of candidates on a single list to two-thirds of the total number of seats available in regions with 24 or more seats. Due to the current distribution of seats, only Flamia and Lower Stegeren are affected by this change. In all other regions, the maximum number of candidates on a list is the total number of seats.
Parties and leaders
In order to participate in the elections, a party or list of candidates must provide declarations of support by 0.1% of all votes cast in the previous election in each region contested, as well as a deposit of €1,800 in each region contested. This deposit is refunded to lists who obtain 1% of the vote in the region contested.
Preliminary results were finalised on the morning of 2 September, and the official result was published on 6 September.
|Socialist Labour Party||1,735,597||23.16||49||+4|
|Progressive Democratic Party||1,424,227||19.00||40||+15|
|National People's Party||1,350,417||18.02||36||-18|
|People's Party for Sotirian Democracy||367,895||4.91||6||+1|
|LIVE – The Liberal Union||260,155||3.47||4||-2|
|Party for the Petois||215,432||2.87||6||-1|
|Total votes cast||7,533,504||100.00|
Shortly after the closing of polling stations and the release of the main exit poll, the Socialist Labour Party declared victory. The SAP won 23.2% of the national vote and 49 seats, a marginal improvement on its 2014 performance, but finishing in first place. In a speech to supporters at the party's election night gathering, Rupert van Bleiswijk said the result was "a clear signal for a change of government" and announced he would seek to talk to a number of parties immediately.
The Progressive Democratic Party obtained its best ever result since the foundation of the party in 1989, winning 40 seats on 19.0% of the popular vote. The success of the VDP has been attributed to the strong debating and campaign performance of its leader, Eva Kaestel, who positioned the party as a progressive alternative to both the NVP and SAP. Its 40 seats made it the second-largest party in the Chamber for the first time ever.
The National People's Party suffered significant losses, winning 36 seats and 18.0% of the vote, a one-third reduction of its presence in the Chamber. It was the NVP's worst result since 2006, the last time the party was swept from power. The NVP lost voters to the VDP and the Patriot's March in particular, the latter of which had its best ever showing in a federal election with 16 seats and 9.6% of the vote.
The four minor parties in the outgoing government fared rather poorly, all receiving marginal losses with the exception of the People's Party for Sotirian Democracy, who gained one seat from the previous election. The Agrarian–Farmer's Party in particular suffered heavily, losing three of its eight seats in the Chamber, largely attributed to its role in the leaking scandal.
Aside from the SAP, the other left-leaning parties had mixed fortunes - the Green Party maintained its eleven seats and increased its popular vote share by 0.3% from 2014, whilst The Left lost two seats to return seven deputies.
Turnout in the 2018 election stood at 79.4% - slightly down on the 2014 figure of 80.3%.
Premier Michiel Hagan announced on election night that he would resign, remaining as caretaker Premier until a new government could be formed. He said he accepted the verdict of the Hennish electorate, commenting that "the responsibility falls on the mandates of others to form the next government", signalling that the NVP would not take part in the next government.
Following the official certification of results on 6 September, Stadtholder Adriaan Wilhelm Paulus appointed Rupert van Bleiswijk to form a government as the leader of the largest party in the Chamber. Under the General Law, the appointee had 30 days from thereon to make formal proposals to the Stadtholder on the formation of a new government, otherwise the Stadtholder would be obliged to appoint a deputy from the second largest party to do so. During the election campaign, van Bleiswijk suggested that his preference was for a "forward-thinking" government, likely including a combination of the VDP, the Green Party and The Left. He left the door open to all parties with the exception of the Patriot's March, on which existed a cordon sannitaire by all other parties preventing them from entering government.
Prior to being formally appointed to lead government formation talks, van Bleiswijk had initiated discussions with VDP leader Eva Kaestel on forming a grand coalition. However, as the combined total of seats for both parties was still two short of an overall majority, a third party would be needed either as part of a coalition or a confidence and supply agreement.
On 11 September, talks led by van Bleiswijk officially commenced between the SAP, VDP, Green, PP and ABP parties. The Green Party left these talks on 20 September citing "insufficient" progress on climate action and higher education. On 27 September, an agreement was reached between the four remaining parties, providing for a SAP-VDP grand coalition with a confidence and supply arrangement in place with the two other parties. As part of the agreement, the SAP and VDP would each hold nine of the eighteen ministerial posts in Cabinet, with the former holding the position of Premier and the latter holding the position of Deputy Premier. The PP and ABP would either vote in favour, or abstain in important votes, such as in motions of no confidence or on budgetary legislation. In exchange, both parties received concessions on policy.
On 5 October, van Bleiswijk was invested as Premier by the Chamber of Deputies with the SAP, VDP and PP voting in favour, and the ABP abstaining. Later that day, Stadtholder Paulus confirmed the investiture at a ceremony at the Geel Paleis, as well as the investitures of Eva Kaestel as Deputy Premier and the rest of the cabinet
Rupert van Bleiswijk (SAP)
|Ballot →||5 October 2017|
|Required majority →||91 out of 180|
95 / 180
80 / 180
5 / 180
0 / 180