The States-Provincial ("Provinciale Staten", or "PS" - commonly known as simply the Staten, or "States") is the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each province of the Netherlands. It is elected for each province simultaneously once every four years and has the responsibility for matters of subnational or regional importance. Each States-Provincial is directly elected by the electors within the relevant province, and the size of each States-Provincial is relative to its number of inhabitants.

From 1813 to 1850 the noble members of the "ridderschap" chose one third of the members of States-Provincial. Johan Rudolf Thorbecke's reforms and his "Provinces Law" ("provinciewet") of 1850 brought this privilege to an end.

Before 11 March 2003, the States-Provincial had only been the administration (ie the executive government) of the province, but after that date it has become the collective of representatives within the province, whose principle role is to oversee the administration of most executive tasks. These tasks are now in the hands of the "Gedeputeerde Staten", a provincial college elected every four years from the States-Provincial's members. The "Gedeputeerde Staten" and the States-Provincial are both presided over by that province's "Commissaris van de Koningin" or royal commissioner, appointed by the Crown every 6 years.

Soon after their election the combined members of the States-Provincial elect the members of the Eerste Kamer of the States-General of the Netherlands.

Number of seats in each States-Provincial

Before 2007, the size of a States-Provincial ranged from 39 members for a province with less than 200,000 inhabitants to 55 members for a province with more than 2,500,000 inhabitants. As a consequence of a change to the Provinciewet by the States-Provincial elections of 7 March 2007, the total number of States-Provincial members will be reduced from the present 764 to 564. The maximum size of a States-Provincial was reduced from 83 members to 55, for provinces with more than 2,000,000 inhabitants. The minimum size of 39 remained unchanged, but for provinces of less then 400,000 inhabitants (rather than the previous 200,000). A survey of the change in seats per province:

A consequence of this reduction in the number of seats is that the "kiesdrempel" (or minimum number of votes needed for a party to gain at least one seat in an assembly) will rise. Depending on the province, the kiesdrempel will lie between 1.5% and more than 2% of the votes. Because of this, it will become harder for small parties to win a seat. This may also have consequences for the representation of small parties in the Eerste Kamer.

Elections by party by province

Due to defections from one party to another and other such reasons the number of seats can fluctuate during each inter-elections period. This table only shows the distribution straight after the elections.

The named 'overige' (majority party) for 2007 are:
* in Groningen: PvhN (by 1 seat)
* in Friesland: FNP (by 5 seats)
* in Utrecht: Mooi Utrecht (by 1 seat)
* in Noord-Holland: ONH/Verenigd Senioren Partij (by 1 seat)
* in Zuid-Holland: Leefbaar Zuid-Holland (by 1 seat)
* in Zeeland: PVZ (by 2 seats)
* in Noord-Brabant: Brabantse Partij (by 1 seat)
* in Limburg: PNL (by 1 seat)

eat distribution in the States-Provincial after the 2007 elections

"Statenverkiezingen means State-Provincial elections."

ee also

*Provinces of the Netherlands
*Interprovinciaal Overleg
*Estates of the realm, for the origin of the term
*Provincieraad, the equivalent body in Belgium

External links

* [ Website of the Interprovinciaal Overleg (IPO)]
* [ Official figures of the kiesraad]
* [ List of present Statenleden]


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