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The Netherlands are a Constitutional monarchy. The most important part of parliament, the Tweede Kamer (Lower House), has 150 members, and is chosen once every four years by Proportional representation.

At the moment (1998-2002), the following parties have representatives in the Tweede Kamer, with the given number of seats

PvdA         45 Social Democratic
VVD          39 right-wing Liberal
CDA          29 Christian Democratic
D66          14 left-wing Liberal
GroenLinks   11 left-wing Green Party
SP            5 Post-Communistic
ChristenUnie  5 Christian
SGP           3 right-wing Conservative Christian

Like a number of other European countries with proportional representation, the Dutch have always had Coalition governments. Since 1994, the governing coalition consists of PvdA, VVD and D66. Before that, for 80 years the CDA (or the parties that later joined to form the CDA) had been in the government, sometimes with the socialists (PvdA), sometimes with the liberals (VVD) as their coalition partner.

See also Government, Drugs policy