What is critical about CDA

Christian Democratic Appèl ()

* 11. October 1980 - Dutch Christian Democratic Party

It is a Christian-democratic party that can be classified in the middle of the party spectrum. In 2014 it was the largest of the Dutch political parties with over 56,310 members. The political position of the was largely shaped by a sentence by Dries van Agt, the first Prime Minister of the, who said: "We do not turn left and we do not turn right." The party advocates the thesis that the human being of God was created and functions as the ruler of the nature He created. The state is also in the service of God and should respect his creations and behave accordingly.


It emerged from a merger of three Christian parties that had often previously formed the ruling coalition. These were the Anti-Revolutionaire Partij (Anti-Revolutionary Party,) that Christelijk-Historische Unie (Christian-Historical Union,) and the Katholieke Volkspartij(Catholic People's Party,). It had no serious government intentions, since it was directed at the strictly religious Calvinists and Calvinism was no longer so strong in the country that it would have been possible to make it state-supporting again. On the other hand, it represented a more moderate religious view and aimed primarily at the religious upper class, through whom it also largely financed itself. The majority of the new party members, however, came from that which, alongside the Social Democrats, was the largest party in the chamber faction at the time. It was a long way to this merger, and it was not without problems. Due to the opposing orientations of the parties, with regard to their religious radicalism and target group definition, it did not seem possible until well into the 1950s that they would find any other points of overlap apart from the basic aspect of Christianity. This inner demarcation was strengthened by the columnar structure that was well established at the time, in which one's own social environment was determined by the definition of the worldview. The three parties only moved closer together as the pyrolysis progressed. At the European level there were already first steps in a common direction. There they had already come together under the umbrella of the European People's Party (EPP).
The name appeared for the first time in 1977 and at that time already described the political alliance of the three parties, under which they also ran for the election of the Second Chamber. The party was officially founded on October 11, 1980 after lengthy merger negotiations. Piet Bukman was elected first party chairman.

ReignCoalition partnerPrime Minister
1977-1981Dries van Agt
1981-1982, Dries van Agt
May-November 1982D66Dries van Agt
1982-1986Ruud Lubbers
1986-1989Ruud Lubbers
1989-1994Ruud Lubbers
July-October 2002, Jan Peter Balkenende
2003-2006, Jan Peter Balkenende
2006-2007Jan Peter Balkenende
2007-2010, Jan Peter Balkenende

After the merger, it remained successful for a long time: it received an average of 30 percent of the vote in elections and formed the government of the Netherlands for 14 years with changing coalition partners. These were coined by the Prime Ministers Dries van Agt and Ruud Lubbers. This period was not uneventful and many of the reigns had to end prematurely.

The short government period in 1982, together with the left-wing liberal, is a special government in two respects: On the one hand, it did not have a majority in the Second Chamber and was therefore a minority government that was dependent on the votes of the opposition. On the other hand, it represented a so-called rump cabinet, since the one represented in the previous government was no longer involved. After the failure of this government, Ruud Lubbers took over the post of Prime Minister from Dries van Agt.

In 1994, for the first time in its history, the party suffered heavy losses in votes. The share had already fallen before, but it lost 20 seats in one fell swoop and thus became an opposition party. It was also the first time since 1918 that no Christian party was involved in the formation of a government. It recovered only poorly from this defeat and had to struggle for a long time with the loss of further votes and its new position as an opposition party. As a consequence of this failure, the then top candidate Elco Brinkman left the field. Only under the leadership of Jan Peter Balkenende did the party regain ground and build on old political successes. From 2002 it was again involved in the formation of the government, but the political balance of power proved to be increasingly changeable. The first short term of government with the right-wing liberal and the right-wing populist under Prime Minister Balkenende ended with the resignation of the, which forced new elections. Choosing her as a coalition partner had already been an unpopular decision in advance. The alliance also had negative effects on them: Since they did not meet the expectations of their voters during the period in office, their votes were minimized. This dropped to 5.7 percent (from the previous 17 percent) and was no longer recognized as relevant to the government. On the other hand, it succeeded in increasingly addressing non-Christian voters and even winning over part of the Muslim electorate through the use of two Muslim MPs.

After lengthy and cumbersome negotiations, a coalition of, and emerged from the next elections, which, however, was also dissolved early. This happened through the withdrawal from the coalition after a motion of no confidence against the Minister for Integration, Rita Verdonk (), had failed. The application was based on Verdonk's actions against MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wanted her Dutch citizenship revoked because of false information in her asylum procedure. Even with that, the government had only had a slim majority, which had already become obsolete with the resignation of the then-MP Geert Wilders. Queen Beatrix then introduced the proposal of a minority government that Parliament had suggested to her beforehand. On this advice from the Queen, the new government was formed and formed for the first time since 1982 as a minority government. In addition, it was a transitional government that mainly focused on the 2007 budget. In February 2007 a new government was formed, consisting of the, the and the ChristenUnie () composed. This also broke up when one of the coalition parties left, as there were disagreements within the coalition because of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan within the framework of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). After these could not be resolved in February, the dissolved their coalition with the other two parties. Prime Minister Balkenende announced the resignation of the members of the government and at the same time confirmed that they would stay in the cabinet. The ministerial posts previously held by the were filled for the next 8 months until the reign came to an end in October.

After that reign, the party plunged into its next major crisis. Jan Peter Balkenende withdrew from the party leadership and left his post to the then Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, who took a far more conservative course. Although the election results collapsed, he again took part in the formation of the government, although this time it did not take place under her leadership. This was taken over by the one who also teamed up with the right-wing populist to form the government. This was not directly involved in the government, but entered into a compromise. These should contribute to a tightened asylum and integration policy, as well as economic reforms, in return, the would serve as a majority procurer, if necessary. This was the tolerance party. In contrast to the LPF in 2002, it was relieved of its responsibility and was able to survive the government period positively. This time she emerged from the government as a loser. Participation in the coalition was already controversial internally and this critical view of the government continued through the next few years. The party was internally divided, which was particularly evident at party congresses.

In 2011 a new chairperson was elected: Ruth Peetoom. She was not only a pastor, but also a sharp opponent of the one with which the new party course was set and a realignment took place. However, this approach came too late for him. At the beginning of 2012 the government broke up and dissolved. The political reorientation and the critical starting point were still unfinished. As a result, the collaboration with the clearly fell back on that and earned him the devastating result of 8.5 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections in autumn 2012.

After this bitter defeat, the party continued its efforts to realignment and dealt increasingly with its fundamental problems. This included, among other things, the strict demarcation from and the rethinking of content, which was already initiated by the election of Ruth Peetoom, as well as the integration into her role as an opposition party and a stronger involvement of the population. The party already seems to be successful in 2015, as it received 14.3 percent of the vote in the 2014 local elections. The same improvement was seen in the 2014 European elections, in which they reached 15.18 percent and thus received the same number of seats as in 2009.


The realignment of the content naturally also included new primary topics. He chooses a very positive attitude towards the euro. This clearly sets them apart from the anti-euro course. The party argues that the Netherlands would benefit from the euro as an exporting country, meaning that each citizen would have an average of 2,000 euros more per year, which had a positive effect on the economy. In addition, the party advocates that the entire EU receives the euro and that any violation of the rules should be punishable. She is of the opinion that only a united Europe can look positively into the future and underline this point of view in many of her election advertisements. Another major concern is access to education and work. The party emphasizes that everyone should be able to find work and that no one leaves school without a qualification. In addition, education should be promoted in general, for example through homework tuition or the treatment of language deficits at the age of 0-3. As a Christian party, the family is also a central issue, as it is described as a pillar of society and deserves support, as well as the possibility that parents can combine their work with children without cutting back on either of the two areas. In addition, it is required that children have safe places and families can live in safe areas. Poverty is also addressed, with the focus on helping those affected with basic problems instead of just offering superficial help.

This is very broad nowadays and is involved in many social issues, especially togetherness. Contrary to the basic Christian orientation, there are hardly any religious aspects in the current program. Christian virtues are introduced, but not emphasized as such, or associated with belief, which is probably due to the change in 2012. One of the main points was that one wanted to turn away from the purely Christian in order to have a firm footing in the future, as the progressive secularization of the church represents a threat to Christian parties all over Europe. So it is open in which direction it will develop.

Author:Andrea Hoppe
Created: May 2015