Christian Democratic Appeal
Published 13th August, 2012
The Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA was founded in 1975, but constituted as a unified party in 1980. It is a merger of the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) which was founded in 1878, the Christian Historic Union (CHU) founded in1908 and the Catholic People’s Party (KVP) which dates back to 1928. The decision to merge was taken because all three parties were suffering declining votes after the Second World War. The party describes itself as centrist and believes in Christian democracy, Conservatism and Centrism.
In the 1977 election the party immediately jumped up to 49 seats out of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. From this point the party headed several coalition governments with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) until 1981 and then with others until 1982. It continued in government, winning 54 seats in each of the 1986 and 1989 general elections, making it the largest party in parliament.
The party slumped in the 1994 general election after a change of leadership and during tough economic conditions; they managed just 34 seats and went into opposition, dropping further to 29 seats in 1998.
With a new leader, Jan Peter Balkenende, the party’s fortunes improved dramatically in 2002 when they bounced back to 43 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. They went on to form a government with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF). A year later the coalition crashed and a fresh election was called. The CDA did well again, taking 44 seats this time and were able to form a fresh coalition with the VVD and Democrats 66.
In 2006 the party dropped three seats but remained in government under a new coalition with the Labour Party (PdvA) and Christian Union (CU).
The 2010 general election was a disaster for the CDA, dropping 20 seats down to 21 seats but they decided to join the Cabinet of VVD Prime Minister Mark Rutte along with the Party for Freedom (PVV). The Cabinet collapsed in 2012 when the PVV pulled out of the coalition.
In May 2012 the Christian Democratic Appeal elected a new leader in Sybrand van Haersma Buma.
The Christian Democratic Appeal is a member of Centrist Democrat International. The party has five of the 26 national seats in the European Parliament and is a member of the European People’s Party group.