Secretive gov't formation process criticized in report on vulnerabilities in Dutch political system

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Secretive and long-ongoing cabinet formations in the the Netherlands is one of the weaknesses in the country's parliamentary system, according to the preliminary conclusions of a committee investigating the Dutch political system. The committee is led by Noord-Holland's commissioner for the King Johan Remkes, NOS reports.

This state committee on the parliamentary system was established by the government early ths year at the request of the Eerste Kamer and Tweede Kamer - the Dutch Senate and lower house of parliament. Its goal is to investigate the vulnerabilities in the Dutch parliamentary system and advice on possible improvements. On Wednesday the committee presented its preliminary conclusions and announced six topics on which it will do further exploration.

One of these topics is the government formation process. According to the committee, the formation process is a 'black box' from voters' perspective and constitutionally. The voter has no influence on the process and just has to deal with the outcome. The committee also points out that the formation process in the Netherlands can take a long time - the current formation process is the longest in Dutch history - and wonders whether  it can't be done differently, faster and more transparent.

The committee also mentioned the "imperfection" in the representative democracy that makes it possible to implement far reaching parliamentary decisions that do not have a majority support in the population. This is partly because parliament is not an accurate representation of the Netherlands population. 

A third problem is that the division of tasks between the Eerste Kamer and Tweede Kamer is not always clear, and that there is no regulation in place on how to resolve conflicts between the two Kamers. 

Other topics for further investigation include the role of political parties and their loss of function, the resilience of democracy specifically pertaining to the digital influence of voters and the decreasing power of the national government as more power is transferred to the European Union and provincial and municipal governments. 

Once this investigation is done, the Eerste Kamer, Tweede Kamer and government will decide what to do with the conclusions, according to NOS.