Reformed Political Party

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Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij
Image:Logosgp.jpg
Leader Bas van der Vlies
Founded April 24, 1918
Headquarters Ds. G.H. Kerstenhuis
Laan van Meerdervoort 165 Den Haag
Political Ideology Conservatism, Orthodox Reformed
International Affiliation none
European Parliament Group Independence and Democracy
Colours Blue and Orange
Website www.sgp.nl
See also Politics of the Netherlands

Political parties
Elections

The Political Reformed Party (in Dutch: Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij, SGP) is an orthodox Protestant Dutch political party. The SGP is the oldest political party in the Netherlands, and for its entire existence has been in opposition. For its orthodox political ideals and its refusal to cooperate in any cabinet, the party is called a testimonial party.

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Contents

[edit] Party history

[edit] Foundation

The SGP was founded on April 24, 1918, by several members of the Protestant Anti Revolutionary Party. They did not agree with female suffrage, which the ARP had made possible. Furthermore they were against the alliance the ARP had formed with the Catholic General League. The party entered in the 1918 general elections, but it was unable to win any seats. The leading figure in the party's foundation was Yerseke minister Gerrit Hendrik Kersten.

[edit] 1922-1945

In the 1922 election the party entered Parliament. In this period the SGP became most noted for proposing to abolish the Dutch representation at the Holy See during each annual parliamentary debate on the budget of the ministry of foreign affairs. Each year the protestant Christian Historical Union (CHU) voted in favour. The party was in cabinet with the Catholic general league, but many of its members and supporters still had strong feelings against the Roman-Catholic Church. In 1925 the leftwing opposition composed of the leftwing liberal VDB and the social-democratic SDAP voted in favour of the motion. They were indifferent to the representation at the Holy See, but saw this as a possibility to divide the confessional cabinet. And indeed the cabinet fell over this issue, in what is known as the Nacht van Kersten (Night of Kersten).

In the subsequent elections, the party won one seat, and in the 1929 election the party won another. It remained stable in the 1933 elections but lost one seat in the 1937 elections in which ARP prime minister Hendrikus Colijn performed particularly well. During the Second World War, he cooperated with the Nazi occupiers to allow his paper, the Banier to be printed and had condemned the resistance. Therefore after the war he was refused entry into the Tweede Kamer.

[edit] 1945 - present

Kersten was succeeded by minister Piet Zandt, under whose leadership the SGP was very stable, continually getting 2% of votes. In 1956 the SGP profited from the enlargement of parliament, and it got a seat in the Eerste Kamer, which the party lost in 1960, but regained in 1971. In 1961 Zandt died and he was succeeded by engineer Cornelis van Dis. After ten years he stood down in favour of minister Hette Abma, who also stepped down after ten years, in favour of engineer Henk van Rossum. In 1984 the SGP joined the two other orthodox protestant parties RPF and the GPV in order to gain one seat in the European Parliament, it was taken by SGP engineer Van der Waal. In 1986 he was succeeded by Bas van der Vlies, who continues to lead the party. In 1994 the party lost one seat in parliament, which it regained in 1998 but lost again in 2002. After the general election of 2003, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) held talks with the SGP, but ultimately the Democrats 66 joined the Second Balkenende cabinet instead of the SGP, mostly because of the ideological differences between VVD and SGP.

On September 7 2005 the district court of the Hague judged that the party could no longer receive subsidy, because women were forbidden to be members of the party. This was found to be a violation of the 1981 UN Treaty on Women in which the Netherlands committed to fighting discrimination. It also was a violation of first article of the Dutch constitution, the principle of non-discrimination. The decision has been appealed by the State of The Netherlands. Female members of the SGP-youth (which does allow female membership) said however that they did not feel discriminated or repressed. During a party congress on June 24 2006, the SGP lifted the ban on female membership. Political positions inside and outside the party were still limited to women.

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[edit] Ideology and issues

The SGP is an orthodox protestant radical conservative party. It is committed to building a state on basis of the Bible. It believes that the word of God should rule in all spheres of society. The party adheres strictly to Three Principles of Unity and the old text of the Belgic Confession (Nederlandse Geloofsbelijdenis). The last texts mentions the striving "to avert and exterminate all idolatry and false religions, and to bring to ruin the empire of the antichrist". The SGP however interprets this passage to mean that God's spirit will exterminate all false religions. The party is a strict defender of the freedom of religion, but wants to restrict the expression of non-christian religions in the public sphere. The party defends the separation of church and state, because both have a different role in society. The party does not seek to be in government, but instead uses parliament to express its principles. Therefore the party is called a testimonial party.

The SGP wants to abolish female suffrage and has forbidden women to be member of the party until 2006. The party favours the re-introduction of the death penalty in the Netherlands. They base this on the Bible, specifically on Genesis 9:6, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man," and Exodus 21:12, "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death."

Other important issues for the party are:

[edit] Representation

In this table the election results of the SGP in Tweede Kamer, Eerste Kamer, Provincial and European elections is represented, as well as the party's political leadership: the fractievoorzitter, is the chair of the parliamentary party and the lijsttrekker is the party's top candidate in the general election, these posts are normally taken by the party's leader. The party chair is also represented as well as the membership of the party.

Year TK EK EP PS Fractievoorzitter Lijsttrekker Party chair membership
1919 0 0 3 n/a extra-parliamentary no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1920 0 0 n/a 3 extra-parliamentary no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1921 0 0 n/a 3 extra-parliamentary no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1922 1 0 n/a 3 Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten unknown
1923 1 0 n/a 8 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1924 1 0 n/a 8 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1925 2 0 n/a 8 Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten unknown
1926 2 0 n/a 8 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1927 2 0 n/a 11 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1928 2 0 n/a 11 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1929 3 0 n/a 11 Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten unknown
1930 3 0 n/a 11 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1931 3 0 n/a 12 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1932 3 0 n/a 12 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1933 3 0 n/a 12 Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten unknown
1934 3 0 n/a 12 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1935 3 0 n/a 13 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1936 3 0 n/a 13 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1937 2 0 n/a 13 Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten Gerrit Kersten unknown
1938 2 0 n/a 13 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1939 2 0 n/a 10 Gerrit Kersten no elections Gerrit Kersten unknown
1940 * * n/a * * no elections * unknown
1941 * * n/a * * no elections * unknown
1942 * * n/a * * no elections * unknown
1943 * * n/a * * no elections * unknown
1944 * * n/a * * no elections * unknown
1945 2 0 n/a 13 Piet Zandt no elections Gerrit Kersten 10,000
1946 2 0 n/a 10 Piet Zandt Piet Zandt Piet Zandt 10,100
1947 2 0 n/a 10 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,200
1948 2 0 n/a 10 Piet Zandt Piet Zandt Piet Zandt 10,300
1949 2 0 n/a 10 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,400
1950 2 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,600
1951 2 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,700
1952 2 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt Piet Zandt Piet Zandt 10,750
1953 2 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,800
1954 2 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,800
1955 2 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 10,850
1956 3 1 n/a 11 Piet Zandt Piet Zandt Piet Zandt 10,900
1957 3 1 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 11,000
1958 3 1 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 11,500
1959 3 1 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 12,000
1960 3 0 n/a 11 Piet Zandt no elections Piet Zandt 12,300
1961 3 0 n/a 11 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 12,600
1962 3 0 n/a 12 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 13,000
1963 3 0 n/a 12 Cornelis van Dis Cornelis van Dis Hette Abma 13,400
1964 3 0 n/a 12 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 13,700
1965 3 0 n/a 12 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 14,000
1966 3 0 n/a 11 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 14,300
1967 3 0 n/a 11 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 14,700
1968 3 0 n/a 11 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 15,000
1969 3 0 n/a 11 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 15,200
1970 3 0 n/a 16 Cornelis van Dis no elections Hette Abma 15,400
1971 3 1 n/a 16 Hette Abma Hette Abma Hette Abma 15,700
1972 3 1 n/a 16 Hette Abma Hette Abma Hette Abma 16,000
1973 3 1 n/a 16 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 16,700
1974 3 1 n/a 15 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 17,000
1975 3 1 n/a 15 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 17,500
1976 3 1 n/a 15 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 18,200
1977 3 1 n/a 15 Hette Abma Hette Abma Hette Abma 18,700
1978 3 1 n/a 13 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 19,500
1979 3 1 0 13 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 20,100
1980 3 1 0 13 Hette Abma no elections Hette Abma 20,300
1981 3 1 0 13 Henk van Rossum Henk van Rossum Hette Abma 20,500
1982 3 1 0 15+3* Henk van Rossum Henk van Rossum Hette Abma 20,800
1983 3 2 0 15+3* Henk van Rossum no election Hette Abma 21,200
1984 3 2 1 15+3* Henk van Rossum no election Hette Abma 21,400
1985 3 2 1 15+3* Henk van Rossum no election D. Slagboom 21,500
1986 3 2 1 15+3* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies D. Slagboom 21,936
1987 3 1 1 15+3* Bas van der Vlies no election D. Slagboom 22,235
1988 3 1 1 15+3* Bas van der Vlies no election D. Slagboom 22,467
1989 3 1 1 15+3* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies D. Slagboom 23,000
1990 3 1 1 15+3* Bas van der Vlies no election D. Slagboom 23,062
1991 3 2 1 17+5* Bas van der Vlies no election D. Slagboom 23,158
1992 3 2 1 17+5* Bas van der Vlies no election W.Chr. Hovius 23,665
1993 3 2 1 17+5* Bas van der Vlies no election W.Chr. Hovius 23,700
1994 2 2 1 17+5* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies J. Budding 23,728
1995 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies no election J. Budding 23,600
1996 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies no election J. Budding 23,865
1997 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies no election J. Budding 23,800
1998 3 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies J. Budding 23,800
1999 3 2 1 22+3* Bas van der Vlies no election J. Budding 23,860
2000 3 2 1 22+3* Bas van der Vlies no election J. Budding 25,045
2002 2 2 1 22+3* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies J. Budding 25,630
2003 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies J. Budding 25,850
2004 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies no election A. van Heteren 25,700
2005 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies no election A. van Heteren 25,900
2006 2 2 1 19+2* Bas van der Vlies Bas van der Vlies A. van Heteren 26,400

* in combined ChristianUnion/SGP parliamentary parties (estimated).

[edit] Members of the Second Chamber of Parliament

After the 2003 elections the party has 2 representatives in the lower house of parliament:

[edit] Members of the First Chamber of Parliament

After the 2003 Lower House elections the party has xx representatives in the Lower House:

[edit] Members of the European Parliament

Since the 2004 European Parliament elections the party has one representative in the European Parliament. The SGP forms one parliamentary party ChristenUnie-SGP with the ChristenUnie. It is part of the Independence and Democracy:

[edit] Muncipal and provincial government

[edit] Provincial government

The party cooperates in the Zeeland provincial executive. Where the party is also strongest, with over 10% of the vote. It has 22 members of provincial legislatives.

The table below shows the election results of the 2003 provincial election in each province. It shows the areas where the Reformed Political Party is strong, namely in the Dutch bible belt: a band from Zeeland, via parts of South Holland and Utrecht, Gelderland to Overijssel.

Province Votes (%) Result (seats)
Flevoland 3,26 1
Friesland 5,61* 1**
Gelderland 5,02 4
Overijssel 3,53 2
Utrecht 3,58 2
Zeeland 12,68 6
South Holland 4,67 4
North Holland 1,90* 1**
Drenthe 0,34 0
North Brabant 1,59* 0**

* result of combined ChristianUnion/SGP lists. ** members of the SGP (estimate) in combined ChristianUnion/SGP parliamentary parties.

[edit] Municipal government

5 of the 414 mayors of the Netherlands are member of the SGP. These are all mayor of smaller municipalities in Gelderland, Zuid Holland, Zeeland or Overijssel, where the SGP is particularly strong. The party cooperates in several local executives, again in these smaller municipalities in the so called Dutch bible belt. The party has 40 aldermen and 244 members of local legislatives. In many municipalities where the SGP is weaker, it cooperates with the ChristenUnie, presenting common lists or with a electoral alliance.

[edit] Electorate

The SGP has a very stable electorate, the party varies between 2 and 3 seats. Most of its electorate is formed by so-called "bevindelijk gereformeerden", reformed for whom personal religious experience is very important. This group is formed by several smaller churches such as the Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Parishes, Old Reformed Church, as well as the conservative wing of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Reformed League.

The SGP's support is concentrated geographically in the Dutch bible belt, a band of reformed municipalities ranging from Zeeland in the South via Goeree-Overflakkee and the Alblasserwaard in South Holland and the Veluwe in Gelderland to the Western part of Overijssel, around Staphorst. The SGP is also very strong on the former island Urk. The party scored absolute majorities in the several villages, in Uddel even 65,2% of the vote.

[edit] Organization

[edit] Organizational structure

The highest organ of the SGP is the congres, it is formed by delegates from the municipal branches. It convenes once every year. It appoints the party board and decides the order of the First Chamber, Second Chamber, European Parliament candidates list and has the last say over the party program. The SGP chairman is always a minister. Since 2001 this position is ceremonial, as the general chair leads the party's organization.

The party has 245 municipal branches and has a provincial federation in each province, except for Limburg

[edit] Linked organisations

The party publishes the Banner two-weekly since 1921. The scientific institute of the party is called the Guido de Brès-foundation, it publishes the magazine Zicht (Sight). The youth organisation of the SGP is called the SGP-jongeren, with 15,000 members it is the largest political youth organization of the Netherlands, it publishes two magazines Klik, SGP Jeugdblad (Click, SGP youth magazine) and Ons Contact, SGP Jongeren blad (Our contact, SGP youth magazine).

[edit] Pillarized organisations

The SGP still has close links with several other orthodox protestant organizations, such as several reformed churches and Het Reformatorisch Dagblad. Together they form a small but strong orthodox-reformed pillar

[edit] Relationships to other parties

Until 1963 the SGP was relatively isolated in parliament. The SGP refused to cooperate with Catholic KVP or the secularists (the liberal VVD and the social-democratic PvdA). The larger protestant ARP had some sympathy for the party, but cooperated tightly with the KVP and the protestant CHU. In 1963 another orthodox protestant party, the GPV entered parliament, in 1981 they were joined by the RPF. Together these three parties formed the "Small Christian parties". They shared the same orthodox protestant political ideals and had the same political strategy, called testimonial parties. They cooperated in municipalities, both in municipal executives, where the parties were stong, as well as in common municipal parties, where the parties were weak. In the 1984 European election the parties presented a common list and they won one seat in parliament. After 1993 the cooperation between the GPV and the RPF intensified, but the SGP's position on female suffrage prevented the SGP joining this closer cooperation. In 2000 the GPV and RPF fused to form the ChristenUnie. The SGP and the CU still work together closely.

[edit] International Comparison

Internationally the party is comparable to the American Christian Right and the small Protestant parties of Scandinavia, such as the Christian Democratic Party of Norway, the Swedish and Danish Christian Democrats. The party has never been in a government coalition however, instead it has chosen to voice its concerns with government policy, while acknowledging that they are not big enough to force their opinion upon others.

[edit] 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)
de:Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij

fr:Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij it:Partito Costituzionale Riformato (Paesi Bassi) nl:Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij pl:Polityczna Partia Protestantów

Reformed Political Party

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