Netherlands. On May 6, the people of the Netherlands went
to parliamentary elections, i.e. elections to Parliament's
second chamber. According to
Countryaah, the mass media described the election
movement as fairly lukewarm. The only truly partisan issue
that stirred up the sentiment was immigration policy. In
relation to its population size, the Netherlands has
received more refugees than the other European countries,
and the leader of the right-wing Liberal Party VVD
(Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie) Frits Bolkstein
warned that the country would be flooded by refugees if they
did not immediately begin to reduce immigration. Opinion
polls indicated that 60% of voters supported the VVD's line.
However, the election was a success for the PvdA, the
largest party in the sitting coalition government with the
party leader and Prime Minister Wim Kok in the lead. PvdA
increased from 37 to 45 of the second chamber's 150 seats.
The VVD also won success and increased from 31 to 38 places.
The losers became the third coalition party, the Liberal
Democrats D66 (Democrat 66), which fell from 24 to 14 seats.
Nevertheless, the broad coalition, which occupied 97 of the
chamber's seats, could remain. Voter turnout decreased from
just over 78 to 73% compared to the 1994 elections.
On July 17, the three coalition parties agreed on a
four-year savings plan, aimed primarily at reducing the
budget deficit and lowering taxes. However, Prime Minister
Kok emphasized that he would increase the pressure on the
government to emphasize more social programs in the future.
The final government formation took almost three months
of negotiations between the parties in the coalition. On
Monday, August 3, the new government could be presented and
Wim Kok sworn in by Queen Beatrix as Prime Minister for a
new four-year term. Of the 15 ministerial posts, the PvdA
and the VVD received six each, while D66 lost a ministerial
post due to the election result and had to settle for three.
During the year, the Netherlands was shaken by several
pedophile revelations. Police investigated extensive
cooperation between pedophile powers in the Netherlands and
Belgium; seized pictures and movies could exacerbate the
abuse of hundreds of children. In addition, a senior
official at the Justice Department was charged with
possession of child pornography. According to media reports,
he had thousands of gross child pornographic images in his
computers at his workplace and at home. He must also have
exchanged pictures with other officials in the ministry.