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Due to the multi-party system, no single party has ever held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, and coalition cabinets had to be formed. Since suffrage became universal in 1919, the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest family were the Christian democrats, currently represented by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), second were the social democrats, of which the Labour Party (PvdA) is currently the largest party, and third were the liberals, of which the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is the main representative.
These parties cooperated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian democrats had always been a partner: so either a centre left coalition of the Christian democrats and social democrats was ruling or a centre right coalition of Christian democrats and liberals. In the 1970s, the party system became more volatile: the Christian democratic parties lost seats, while new parties became successful, such as the radical democrat and progressive liberal D66.
In the 1994 election, the CDA lost its dominant position. A "purple" cabinet was formed by VVD, D66, and PvdA. In the 2002 elections, this cabinet lost its majority, due to the rise of the LPF, a new political party around the flamboyant populist Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated a week before the elections. The elections also saw increased support for the CDA. A short lived cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD, and LPF, which was led by the CDA leader democrats, Jan Peter Balkenende. After the 2003 elections in which the LPF lost almost all its seats, a cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD, and D66. The cabinet initiated an ambitious program of reforming the welfare state, the health care system, and the immigration policies.
In June 2006, the cabinet fell after D66 voted in favour of a motion of no confidence against minister of immigration and integration Rita Verdonk in the aftermath of the upheaval about the asylum procedure of VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali instigated by the Dutch immigration minister Verdonk. A care taker cabinet was formed by CDA and VVD, and the general elections were held on 22 November 2006. In these elections, the Christian Democratic Appeal remained the largest party and the Socialist Party made the largest gains. The formation of a new cabinet started two days after the elections. Initial investigations towards a CDA-SP-PvdA coalition failed, after which a coalition of CDA, PvdA, and ChristianUnion was formed.
On 20 February 2010, the cabinet fell as the PvdA refused to prolong the involvement of the Dutch Army in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. New general elections will be held 9 June 2010.
(I am really ashamed of not being able to Speak Dutch. But I am going to get on it ASAP).