Christian Democratic Appeal
Learn more about Christian Democratic Appeal
|Christen Democratisch Appèl|
|Leader||Jan Peter Balkenende|
|Founded||October 11, 1980|
|Headquarters|| Partij Bureau CDA |
Buitenom 18 Den Haag
|Political Ideology||Christian Democracy|
|International Affiliation||Christian Democrat International|
|European Affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament Group||EPP-ED|
|See also||Politics of the Netherlands|
The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) (Dutch: Christen Democratisch Appèl) is a Dutch Christian-democratic political party. The party is currently the biggest coalition partner in the third Balkenende cabinet.
 History before 1977
Since 1880 the sizeable Catholic and Protestant parties had worked together in the so-called coalition. They shared a common interest in public funding of religious schools. In 1888 they formed the first Christian-Democratic government, led by the Anti-Revolutionary Aeneas baron Mackay. The cooperation was not without problems and in 1894 the conservative, anti-papists left the Protestant Anti Revolutionary Party, to found the Christian Historical Union. Main issues' dividing the Protestants and Catholics was the position of the Dutch Representation at the Holy See and the future of the Dutch Indies. Since 1918 the three parties had a majority in both houses of parliament, and at least two of three parties were represented in the cabinet. This majority lasted until 1967. After the war the three Christian-Democratic parties were the Catholic People's Party (KVP), the Protestant Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP), and the Christian Historical Union (CHU).
In the sixties, the Dutch society became more secularized and the pillars faded, and voters began to move away from the three Christian-Democratic parties. In 1963 the three parties held 51% of the vote, in 1972 they held only 32%. This decline forced the three parties to work closer together. In 1967 the Group of Eighteen was formed: it was a think-tank of six prominent politicians per party that planned the future cooperation of the three parties. In 1968 the three political leaders of the parties (Norbert Schmelzer (KVP), Barend Biesheuvel (ARP) and Jur Mellema (CHU) made a public appearance, stating that the three parties would continue to work together. This caused progressive forces within the three parties, especially the ARP and KVP to regret their political affiliation. In 1968 they founded the Political Parties of Radicals, a leftwing party that sought cooperation with the social-democratic Labour Party (PvdA). Locally and provincially however the three parties had long cooperated well, in some areas they formed one Christian-Democratic parliamentary party and proposed one list of candidates. In 1971 the three parties presented a common political program, which lay the foundation for the Biesheuvel cabinets.
After the disastrous elections of 1972 the cooperation was given new momentum. Piet Steenkamp, a member of the lower house of parliament for the KVP was appointed chairman of a council which was to lay the foundation for a federation of the three parties, and provide a common manifesto of principles. In 1973 this federation was officially formed, with Steenkamp as chairperson. The cooperation was frustrated by the formation of the cabinet Den Uyl, established by the leader of the social-democratic PvdA and prime minister of the Netherlands Joop den Uyl. Den Uyl refused to allow members of the CHU in the cabinet that he would lead. This lead to a situation where the CHU, ARP and KVP formed a federation and had one parliamentary party in both houses of parliament, but only the KVP and ARP supplied ministers and junior ministers. The cabinet Den Uyl was riddled with political and personal conflicts. Another issue that split the three parties was the place the Bible would take in the new party.
In 1977 the parties presented a common list at the parliamentary elections. The KVP minister of Justice, Dries van Agt, was the top candidate. In the election campaign he made clear the CDA was a centrist party, that would not lean to the left or to the right. The three parties were able to stabilize their proportion of the vote. The election result forced Van Agt to start talks with Den Uyl. The animosity between Van Agt, who had been vice-prime-minister in the cabinet Den Uyl, and Den Uyl, frustrated the talks. After more than 300 days of negotiations, they finally officially failed, and Van Agt was able to negotiate a cabinet with the conservative liberal VVD. The Cabinet Van Agt-I had a very narrow majority. The unexpected cabinet with the VVD led to split within the newly founded CDA between more progressive and more conservative members. The progressives remained within the party, and were known as loyalists. On October 11, 1980, the three original parties ceased to exist and the CDA was founded as a unitary party. After the elections of 1981, the VVD and the CDA had lost their majority, and the CDA was forced to cooperate with the PvdA. Van Agt became prime-minister and Den Uyl became vice-prime-minister. The cabinet was troubled by ideological and personal conflicts, and fell after one year.
After the 1982 elections, a CDA/VVD cabinet was supported by a majority in parliament. The new CDA-leader, Ruud Lubbers, set an ambitious reform program in motion, which included budget cuts, reform of the old age and disability pensions and liberalization of public services. Lubbers won the 1986 and 1989 elections, he was not only supported by Christians, but also by non-religious people. In 1989 however, although the CDA had won the elections, they were unable to get a majority with their coalition partner, the VVD. The CDA was forced to cooperate with the PvdA. In the third cabinet Lubbers, the ambitious reform project was continued, with some adaptations and protests from the PvdA.
The 1994 elections proved fatal for the CDA: personal conflicts between prime-minister Lubbers, and Lijsttrekker Eelco Brinkman, a lack of support for the reforms in the old age and disability pensions, and the perceived arrogance of the CDA, caused a dramatic defeat. A new government was formed, for the first time since 1918 without christian-democratic ministers. The CDA was confined to opposition. The party was marred by subsequent internal battles over leadership. The party also reflected on its principals: the party began to orient itself more on communitarian ideals.
During the tumultuous 2002 elections, which saw the murder of Pim Fortuyn, many people sought refuge with the CDA, hoping that this party could bring some stability to Dutch politics. The CDA led the Balkenende coalition, with the VVD and the LPF. This cabinet fell due to internal struggles within the LPF. After the 2003 elections, the Christian Democrats were forced to begin cabinet negotiations with the PvdA. Personal animosity between Balkenende and the leader of the PvdA, Bos, frustrated these negotiations. Balkenende consequently formed a coalition with the conservative and progressive liberals. The coalition proposed an ambitious program of reforms, including more restrictive migration laws, democratization of political institutions and reforms of the system of social security and labour laws.
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 Ideology and issues
The CDA is a Christian-democratic party, but the Bible is only seen as a source of inspiration for individual members of parliament. The party also has Jewish, Islamic and Hindu members of parliament, and it favours the integration of Muslim minorities into Dutch culture and opposes radical Islam .
The party has four main ideals: shared responsibility, stewardship, justice and solidarity. Shared responsibility refers to the way society should be organized: not one organization should control all society, instead the state, the market, and social institutions, like churches and unions should work together. This is called sphere sovereignty, a core concept of Protestant political philosophy. Furthermore, this refers to the way the state should be organized. Not one level of the state should have total control, instead responsibility should be shared between local, provincial, national and European government. This is called subsidiarity in Catholic political taught. With stewardship the christian-democrats refer to the way we should treat our planet: the Earth is a gift from God. Therefore we should try to preserve our environment.
- The party is fiscal conservative: the state deficit should be repaid in one generation, to cope with the effects of the aging population.
- The party is social-conservative: the toleration of some drugs should come to an end, furthermore the practices of prostitution, abortion and euthanasia should be limited.
- The party is a staunch proponent of European integration. The party however is not in favour of the accession of Turkey to the European Union.
- The party wants to make schools and hospitals more responsible for their own policy, instead of being regulated by the government.
Chairperson of the Lower House parliamentary party:
- 2002-now drs. M.J.M. (Maxime) Verhagen
- 2001-2002 mr.dr. J.P. (Jan Peter) Balkenende
- 1997-2001 mr. J.G. (Jaap) de Hoop Scheffer
- 1994-1997 drs. E. (Enneus) Heerma
- 1989-1994 mr.dr. L.C. (Elco) Brinkman
- 1982-1989 dr. B. (Bert) De Vries
- 1978-1982 drs. R.F.M. (Ruud) Lubbers
- 1977-1978 mr. W. (Willem) Aantjes
- 2006 mr.dr. J.P. (Jan Peter) Balkenende
- 2003 mr.dr. J.P. (Jan Peter) Balkenende
- 2002 mr.dr. J.P. (Jan Peter) Balkenende
- 1998 mr. J.G. (Jaap) De Hoop-Scheffer
- 1994 mr.dr. L.C. (Elco) Brinkman
- 1989 drs. R.F.M. (Ruud) Lubbers
- 1986 drs. R.F.M. (Ruud) Lubbers
- 1982 drs. R.F.M. (Ruud) Lubbers
- 1981 mr. A.A.M. (Dries) Van Agt
- 1977 mr. A.A.M. (Dries) Van Agt
 Members of the Lower House of Parliament
- 2006 - 41
- 2003 - 44
- 2002 - 43
- 1998 - 29
- 1994 - 34
- 1989 - 54
- 1986 - 54
- 1982 - 45
- 1981 - 44
- 1977 - 48
- 1972 - 49 (KVP 27, ARP 14, CHU 7)
- 1971 - 58 (KVP 35, ARP 13, CHU 10)
- 1967 - 70 (KVP 43, ARP 15, CHU 12)
- 1963 - 76 (KVP 50, ARP 13, CHU 13)
- 1959 - 75 (KVP 49, ARP 14, CHU 12)
- 1956 - 77 (KVP 49, ARP 15, CHU 13)
 Members of the Upper House of Parliament
- 2003 - 23
- 1999 - 20
- 1995 - 19
- 1991 - 27
- 1987 - 26
- 1983 - 26
- 1979 - 27
- 1975 - 24
 Members of the European Parliament
- 2004 - 7
- 1999 - 9
- 1994 - 10
- 1989 - 10
- 1984 - 8
- 1979 – 10
 Local and provincial government
By far, the CDA has the most members of municipal and provincial councils in the Netherlands. Furthermore, it cooperates in most municipal and provincial governments. 135 out of the 414 Dutch mayors are member of the CDA.
The CDA is mainly supported by religious voters, both Catholics and Protestants. These tend to live in rural areas and tend to be elderly. In some periods, however, the CDA has functioned as a centre party, attracting people from all classes and religions.
The CDA has 77,000 members in 520 municipals branches. Its current chairperson is Marja van Bijsterveldt-Vliegenthart.
 Linked organizations
The youth party of the CDA is the Christian-Democratic Youth Appeal (CDJA, Christen-Democratische Jongeren Appèl ). The CDA publishes the CDA-magazine monthly, and its scientific bureau publishes the Christian Democratic Explorations (Christen-Democratische Verkenningen).
As an effect of pillarization, the CDA still has many personal and ideological ties with religious organizations, such as the broad casting foundations KRO and NCRV, the paper Trouw, the employers organizations NCW and the union CNV.
 International organizations
 International comparison
As a large Christian-democratic party the CDA is comparable to other European Christian-democratic parties, like the German CDU. It is the Netherlands' largest rightwing party, but is more centrist than the British Conservatives. In American politics, the CDA is comparable to centrist and more conservative Democrats like Joe Lieberman.
 External links
|Political parties in the Netherlands|
|Second Chamber:||Christian Democratic Appeal (41) | Labour Party (33) | Socialist Party (25) | People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (22) | Party for Freedom (9) | GreenLeft (7) | ChristianUnion (6) | Democrats 66 (3) | Party for the Animals (2) | Political Reformed Party (2)|
|First Chamber:||Christian Democratic Appeal (23) | Labour Party (19) | People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (15) | GreenLeft (5) | Socialist Party (4)| Democrats 66 (3) | ChristianUnion (3) | List Pim Fortuyn (1) | Political Reformed Party (1) | Independent Senate Fraction (1)|
|European Parliament:||Christian Democratic Appeal (7) | Labour Party (7) | People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (4) | GreenLeft (2) | Socialist Party (2) | Europe Transparent (2) | ChristianUnion/Political Reformed Party (2) | Democrats 66 (1)|
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