The Dutch Political Reformed Party (SGP) and Passive Female Suffrage: A Comparison of Three High Court Judgments from the Viewpoint of Democratic Theory
Merkourios, Vol. 29, No. 77, pp. 29-41, July 2013
13 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2013
Date Written: July 24, 2013
Traditionally, in the Netherlands the idea was that political parties were essentially private associations in whose internal affairs the state ought not to interfere. However, the case of the Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij (Political Reformed Party, hereafter, SGP) has led to a political and public debate on whether this view can be maintained. This article examines the case of the SGP, particularly from the viewpoint of democratic theory. It eventually concludes that party regulation does not need to remain a taboo topic forever, even in the Netherlands, although with the SGP having recently changed its own constitution it may take a while until further provisions will be introduced. Care should be taken, however, that it does not lead to unnecessary infringements on the constitutional freedoms of minorities such as the SGP and its followers. After all, what is the point in pursuing non-discriminatory policies that are themselves discriminatory?
Keywords: Party regulation, freedom of association, freedom of religion, gender equality, passive female suffrage, democratic theory, European Court of Human Rights
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