States-provincial

A states-provincial (in Dutch: Provinciale Staten, abbreviated PS commonly known as simply Staten) is the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each of the provinces of the Netherlands. It is elected for each province simultaneously once every four years and has the responsibility for matters of sub-national or regional importance. Each states-provincial is directly elected by the voters within the relevant province, and the number of seats in each states-provincial is proportional to its population.

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands

The states-provincial originated as Estates assemblies in the Middle Ages, hence the name. From 1813 to 1850 the noble members of the ridderschap chose one-third of the members of states-provincial. Johan Rudolf Thorbecke's reforms and his "Provinces Law" ("provinciewet") of 1850 brought this privilege to an end.

The states-provincial choose the provincial-executive as the executive organ of the province. Originally, the states-provincial themselves had also executive powers and chose the provincial-executive from their own members for daily governance. On 11 March 2003, the two institutions split; in other words, there was a change from fusion of powers to separation of powers.

The principal roles of the states-provincial have become to set general policies, represent the people, approve provincial legislation and the annual budget and to oversee the executive. Both the provincial-executive and the States-provincial are presided over by the King's Commissioner in the province, appointed by the Crown every six years.

The last provincial elections were held 20 March 2019.

Three months after their election the combined members of the states-provincial elect the members of the Senate of the States-General of the Netherlands.

Number of seats in each states-provincial

The size of states-provincials ranges from 39 members for a province with less than 400,000 inhabitants to 55 members for a province with more than 2,000,000 inhabitants.

Before 2007, they ranged from 47 members for a province with less than 200,000 inhabitants to 83 members for a province with more than 2,500,000 inhabitants. As a consequence of a change to the Provinciewet, starting at the states-provincial elections of 7 March 2007, the total number of States-Provincial members was reduced from 764 to 564. A survey of the change in seats per province:

ProvinceSeats 2003Seats 2007Seats 2011Seats 2015Seats 2019
Groningen5543434343
Friesland5543434343
Drenthe5141414141
Overijssel6347474747
Flevoland4739394141
Gelderland7553555555
Utrecht6347474949
North Holland8355555555
South Holland8355555555
Zeeland4739393939
North Brabant7955555555
Limburg6347474747
Total764564566570570

A consequence of this reduction in the number of seats is that the election threshold (the minimum number of votes needed for a party to gain at least one seat in an assembly) has risen. Depending on the province, the threshold now lies between 1.5% and over 2% of the votes. Because of this, it has become harder for small parties to win a seat. This may also have consequences for the representation of small parties in the Senate, which is elected by the members of the States-Provincial.

National results

Outcome of the provincial elections calculated at national level:

Political party2003*2007201120152019
Forum for Democracy (FvD)----86
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)1031021128980
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)169151868972
GreenLeft (GL)3733343061
Labour Party (PvdA)1501141076353
Party for Freedom (PVV)-0696641
Democrats 66 (D66)209426740
Socialist Party (SP)2983567035
ChristianUnion (CU)1935232931
Party for the Animals (PvdD)0871820
50Plus0091417
Reformed Political Party (SGP)1313121814
Denk (DENK)----4
CU-SGP[1]43121
Pim Fortuyn List (LPF)100---
Regionalist parties101381515
Total564564566570570
Turnout47.62%46.40%55.97%47.76%

Note *: 2003 election calculated for the 2007 number of seats (564).

Elections by party by province

Provincial elections, 2003

Outcome of the 2003 Dutch provincial elections:

Province2003
CDAPvdAVVDGLSPD66CUSGPLPF(others)total
Groningen12207532400255
Friesland16156311307+1+1+155
Drenthe12199402201251
Overijssel24159332421063
Flevoland101211322412047
Gelderland241813543341075
Utrecht161414634321063
North Holland17242085512183
South Holland202018544344183
Zeeland131072213601+247
North Brabant30171546312179
Limburg28149342001263
Total22219813851373126+519+51522764

Provincial elections, 2007

Outcome of the 2007 Dutch provincial elections:

Province2007
CDAPvdAVVDGLSPD66CUSGPPvdD(others)total
Groningen9125371401143
Friesland12125240300543
Drenthe10138250300041
Overijssel1797260510047
Flevoland879260511039
Gelderland15109371431053
Utrecht11810452411147
North Holland11101359222155
South Holland131012381421155
Zeeland1066250350239
North Brabant18811212111155
Limburg1887291001147
Total1511141023283935+313+3913564

Due to defections from one party to another and other such reasons the number of seats can fluctuate during each inter-elections period. This table only shows the distribution straight after the elections.

The named 'others' for 2007 are:

  • in Groningen: PvhN (by 1 seat)
  • in Friesland: FNP (by 5 seats)
  • in Utrecht: Mooi Utrecht (by 1 seat)
  • in North Holland: ONH/Verenigd Senioren Partij (by 1 seat)
  • in South Holland: Leefbaar Zuid-Holland (by 1 seat)
  • in Zeeland: PvZ (by 2 seats)
  • in North Brabant: Brabantse Partij (by 1 seat)
  • in Limburg: PNL (by 1 seat)

Provincial elections, 2011

Outcome of the 2011 Dutch provincial elections:

Province2011
CDAPvdAVVDGLSPD66CUSGPPvdDPVV50+(others)total
Groningen512636330130143
Friesland811623230040443
Drenthe612924220040041
Overijssel119824332041047
Flevoland46923331161039
Gelderland991145432161055
Utrecht671144521151047
North Holland511135561161155
South Holland6101235522181055
Zeeland67713224050239
North Brabant107123850181055
Limburg1068362000102047
Total8610711234564223+112+176998566

The named 'others' for 2011 are:

  • in Groningen: PvhN (by 1 seat)
  • in Friesland: FNP (by 4 seats)
  • in North Holland: ONH (by 1 seat)
  • in Zeeland: PvZ (by 2 seats)

Provincial elections, 2015

Outcome of the 2015 Dutch provincial elections:

Province2015
CDAPvdAVVDGLSPD66CUSGPPvdDPVV50+(others)total
Groningen5643844-23-3+143
Friesland9751533-141443
Drenthe67725430-51141
Overijssel115625542151047
Flevoland53725432262041
Gelderland96936743251055
Utrecht65944932241049
North Holland571146101361155
South Holland751035733282055
Zeeland64614326-411+139
North Brabant94103971272155
Limburg1145284--1911+147
Total89638930706729+218+218661415570

The named 'others' for 2015 are:

  • in Groningen: Groninger Belang (by 3 seats), PvhN (by 1 seat)
  • in Friesland: FNP (by 4 seats)
  • in Drenthe; Sterk Lokaal (by 1 seat)
  • in North Holland: ONH (by 1 seat)
  • in Zeeland: Zeeland Lokaal (by 1 seat), PvZ (by 1 seat)
  • in North Brabant: Lokaal Brabant (by 1 seat)
  • in Limburg: Volkspartij Limburg (by 1 seat), Lokaal-Limburg (by 1 seat)

See also

References

  1. Combinated list in two provinces (North Holland and North Brabant, also Friesland in 2003).

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