Coalition vs Opposition

The political parties that make up the Cabinet are called coalition parties. Parties that are not included in the Cabinet are called opposition parties. They can be said to oppose the coalition parties, as it were.

The opposition parties do not support the Cabinet at all, or only partially. They would prefer a Cabinet of a different composition and a different Coalition Agreement. The opposition often tries to block or amend the Government's proposals. Coalition parties are more likely to support the Cabinet's policies than reject them.


"Dualism" in Dutch politics means that there is a certain distance between the Cabinet and the House of Representatives. In many cases, however, the coalition parties will support the Cabinet’s plans, with coalition and opposition parties in the House adopting opposing positions in a debate. This is not always the case, however. Coalition parties may disagree with the Cabinet, as indeed they sometimes do, since it is Parliament’s overall duty to scrutinise the work of the Cabinet. Members of the Cabinet are designated by the coalition parties, but are not elected directly. They are not Members of Parliament (MPs). The members of the Cabinet and MPs each have their own opinions and responsibilities.


We talk of monism when strong ties bind the Cabinet and the coalition parties, and the latter operate more or less as an extension of the Cabinet. When this occurs, the opposition has little influence. In Dutch politics there is a moderate form of dualism, because in most cases the coalition parties will support the Government’s proposals.