Senate debate cancelled after not enough members turn up

The parliamentary complex in The Hague. Photo:
The parliamentary complex in The Hague. Photo:

A debate in the upper house of the Dutch parliament on the rule of law had to be cancelled on Monday because not enough senators turned up.

According to Dutch media it is the first time a senate debate has been scrapped for failing to reach a quorum, which requires half plus one of the 75 senators to have signed in.

The three ministers in charge at the justice ministry were kept waiting from 5.30 to 7pm for the debate to start, but after delaying it twice, senate chairman Jan Anthonie Bruijn formally delayed the meeting until Tuesday morning.

Bruijn, who apologised to the ministers, said he would be raising the issue with the party leaders in the senate.

One of the senators who was missing was Theo Hiddema, the former Forum voor Democratie MP turned independent senator, who was due to make his maiden speech.

The debate did begin on Tuesday morning with a full complement of senators.

The role of the upper house in the Netherlands is to either approve or reject legislation and to scrutinise the actions of the lower house, or Tweede Kamer. The job of senator is a part time position.

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