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A Least Likely Case: Parliament and Citizens in the Netherlands

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The Dutch parliament is a least likely case for studying relations between parliament and citizens: one House is not elected by the citizens, the number of MPs is low compared to the size of the population, and there is no territorial representation. Still, trust in parliament and in MPs is relatively high and shows no signs of decline. This paradox can be explained partially by Dutch citizens not expecting or not wanting their MPs to do constituency work, but also by the fact that Dutch MPs do take interactions with citizens seriously despite the lack of institutional incentives, as is evidenced by the number of hours spent on contacts with citizens, the large number of petitions about individual grievances or the introduction of the citizens' initiative.
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Keywords: Dutch parliament; citizens' initiative; petitions; preference votes; territorial representation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Leiden University, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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