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Paul Pennings, "Parties, Voters and Policy Priorities in the Netherlands, 1971-2002," Party Politics, 11 (January, 2005), 29-45.

First Paragraph:
The relationships between the preferences and priorities of voters, parties and governments are crucial to the functioning of parliamentary democracies. Together, these relationships form a 'chain of delegation' from voters to parties and from parties to policy-makers (Strøm, 2000). This article seeks to unravel the connection between the priorities of voters, parties and governments in order to clarify how the chain of delegation works in the Dutch context. The article is limited to policy priorities, because these are vital to the formation of a political agenda, which is one of the main outcomes of the chain of delegation. This agenda determines how public resources are utilized in order to achieve prioritized collective goals.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Priorities of Dutch voters (means)
Table 2. Distances in policy priorities of parties and voters (%)
Figure 1. Left versus right since 1971
Table 3. Policy distances between policy priorities of parties and governments

First Paragraph in Conclusion:
The low degree of responsiveness of parties indicates that the linkage between voters and parties is the weakest one in the chain of delegation. The linkage between the priorities of parties and governments is much stronger. There should be some connection between the popular and the political agendas in order to enable democratic decision-making, but if the two agendas would merge, the policy agenda of governments would become highly unstable. In the Dutch context the mandate theory does not apply in the same manner as in Britain because Dutch parties are not in a position to make a direct translation of voter priorities or their own priorities into policy-making since they have to compromise.