Constitutional Law / Droit constitutionnel
THE NETHERLANDS / PAYS-BAS
JAAP DE VISSER
Senior Researcher, Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape (Cape Town)
Debates over the introduction of a limited form of constitutional review continued but there was little progress on the issue in Parliament. Government conducted two important experiments with public participation at a national level towards constitutional reform, the Electoral System Civic Forum and the National Convention. The Electoral System Civic Forum concluded that proportional representation should remain the leading theme in the Dutch electoral system with some changes to strengthen the link between voters and parliamentarians. The National Convention identified many areas for constitutional reform and tendered its advice on them. One of the three coalition parties resigned from government, after which a minority cabinet limped on until the general elections in November. The November elections produced a new configuration of Parliament, which immediately flexed its muscles over the ever-controversial issue of asylum law. A motion of no confidence in the Minister for Integration and Immigration was passed but conveniently interpreted by government as a cue to change her portfolio instead of forcing her to resign. Debates over Parliament's role in the deployment of troops continued in the shadow of the deployment of Dutch troops to Afghanistan.