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Memberships in political parties on the rise in election years

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE The percentage of officially politically-aligned voters may be rather small, but there is a significant variation in the level of support from year to year. A documentation centre on political parties in the Netherlands confirms that support levels rise during election years. It particularly attributes such increases in 2002 and 2003 to political newcomer and populist Fortuyn who pulled many people into the political process. On January 1, 2007, over 318,000 people were members of a party, up 20,000 from a year earlier. Only the progressive liberal D66 experienced a drop in membership numbers, the ruling Christian Democrats reversed their gradual slide in memberships and remain the largest. The outgoing coalition partner, the conservative Liberals (VVD) had a similar experience. The largest gains however are for the upstart Party for the Animals, the Socialist Party (SP) and the ChristianUnion (CU).