. Translated from Dutch by the author, using suggestions from DeepL and Google Translate where they were usable.
A major drawback of my ideas about parliamentary elections in two rounds is, of course, exclusion: some parties and candidates, who did attract quite a number of votes, would not be represented in the Second Chamber of Dutch Parliament. In the earliest stage in 2010, this already troubled me. (That text only in Dutch, translation available nor planned.)
Therefore, I now return from ‘Two rounds, three parties’ to ‘Empty seats’, because it does not have that disadvantage. To properly understand this new article, it would be useful to know a little more about my idea of Empty Seats. Here is a summary.
In 2017, I identified two ways to calculate and practically organise the empty seats. On 12 January around 0:15 – I had already slept but was awake again for a while – I suddenly realised that there is a third way, with significant advantages.
Elections could proceed unchanged, and seats could be filled along the same rules as before. The idea of ‘Empty Seats’ could then be implemented on a voluntary basis by MPs, who, in proportion to the turnout at the election, would exhibit the voting behaviour described here.
A kind of tolerance construction, but by parts of all factions, which thus represent the disinterest (‘I just don’t care what they do’) of the many who did not exercise their active right to vote. This achieves the desired stabilisation of a coalition government with fewer parties, and overcomes the disadvantages of political fragmentation.
The benefits are numerous:
No adjustments are necessary. Constitution and Electoral Act can remain unchanged, as can the Rules of Order of the House of Representatives. Everything stays the same. (That article is in Dutch.)
The system can therefore be introduced immediately.
Empty seats aren’t empty, but filled as usual.
Stabilisation is accomplished voluntarily, by real, living representatives. As stipulated by the Dutch Constitution, they vote without instructions or consultation. (No, the “without consultation” part was abolished in 1983. I didn't know that.)
This eliminates the risk of sabotage: if things seem to get out of hand, MPs can take their responsibility and not vote for a derailing motion or law. This also applies to bills that go against the Constitution or international treaties.
How would this work out for the Dutch House of Representatives elected on 22 November 2023? I took the spreadsheet 2170603a.xls, made in June 2017, and adapted it for the current situation. This is the result.
The effect is what I expected: there are many more coalition options, a lot of them many with three parties, and even two with only two parties. Forming a coalition government would be faster and easier, and a resulting cabinet would be more united and thus more stable and more resolved.