After the elections, not only is there a new House of Representatives, but there will also be a new Cabinet. The Cabinet comprises Ministers and State Secretaries. During the formation period, the various political parties negotiate about the formation of a new Cabinet for the next four years. Those political groups that are willing to cooperate with one another and together have a majority in Parliament, form a coalition. Subsequently, the so-called formateur chooses the Ministers and State Secretaries for the new Cabinet. The formation process must result in a Cabinet that is supported by a workable majority in the House of Representatives.
- Standing for election
Any person wishing to represent the people of the Netherlands in the House of Representatives has to stand for election. People can join a political party or set up a new one on their own, but this is not necessary. Both political parties and individuals can take part in the elections by submitting a list of candidates.
Shortly before the elections, political parties will unveil their plans in their party manifestos. Politicians take to the streets to discuss their goals with the citizens. Throughout the election campaign they seek publicity for their party. They explain what their party wants and how they intend to achieve their goals. Political leaders enter into debate with each other in the media.
On polling day, all Dutch nationals aged 18 or over may cast their vote for a candidate on the candidate list. By casting their vote, people make known which party they want to gain seats in Parliament and perhaps also in the Cabinet.
- Election result
After the closure of the polling stations at 9 pm the votes are counted. The Central Electoral Office in The Hague gathers all the local polling results, adds them up and determines the overall result of the election.
- New members of the House of Representatives
After the elections, the chairperson of the Central Electoral Office officially notifies the newly elected members of the House of Representatives of their appointment. Subsequently, they must make known if they accept their appointment.
- The formation process
The election of a new House of Representatives is followed by the formation of a new Cabinet, which is a complex and exciting process.
- Tasks of the informateur
It is the informateur’s task to explore the various options for a new Cabinet. He examines which parties are able and ready to form a new Cabinet and any obstacles which have to be overcome.
- Duties of the formateur
After the informateur has recommended a coalition and the key themes of the shared policies have been set out in the Coalition Agreement, the House of Representatives appoints a Cabinet formateur, who in most cases is the intended Prime Minister. He concludes the formation talks.
- Coalition agreement
The Government sets out in the Coalition Agreement what it wants to achieve in the next Cabinet period: for instance a reduction in unemployment, a cleaner environment without damaging the economy, and more money for education. The coalition parties each want to implement as much as possible of their party manifestos in the Coalition Agreement.
- The new Cabinet
At the inauguration ceremony of a new Cabinet the King or Queen first appoints and swears in the Ministers. This is followed by the traditional photograph of the King or Queen and the Ministers on the steps of Huis ten Bosch Palace. The King or Queen then immediately swears in the State Secretaries. The Cabinet formation is now complete.
- The Government's Statement
The new Cabinet first draws up the Government’s Policy Statement, stating the key themes of the Coalition Agreement. The Prime Minister delivers the Government’s Policy Statement in the House of Representatives. The same day, or in the next sitting, the House of Representatives holds a debate about the content of the Government’s Policy Statement.