Acta Politica

, Volume 43, Issue 2–3, pp 235–253 | Cite as

Electoral Volatility and the Dutch Party System: A Comparative Perspective

  • Peter Mair


This paper places the current wave of Dutch electoral volatility within a comparative European context, and emphasizes its exceptional character. Evidence of Dutch exceptionalism in terms of the broad patterns of electoral change that have developed across the post-war years is reviewed, and the focus is then narrowed to the evidence from very recent elections. One of the major factors accounting for the current high levels of volatility is the relative openness of the party system. Evidence of the patterns of government alternation shows that the Dutch party system is relatively unstructured, but it was only when depillarization was more or less complete that the real effect of this openness kicked in.


electoral volatility Netherlands government alternation party system electoral constraint 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Mair
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceEUI, Florence, and Leiden UniversityItaly

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