As a rule, all MPs, Ministers and State Secretaries attend the debate about the Government’s Policy Statement. The debate will last two or three days. It is not formally part of the Cabinet formation process, but is associated with the confidence rule: a Cabinet can only remain in power if it has Parliament’s confidence.
The “confidence rule”
All Ministers and the Cabinet as a whole must have Parliament’s confidence. Consequently, a Minister, or the entire Cabinet, must resign if a majority in Parliament no longer has confidence in them. The House of Representatives can withdraw confidence, for example, by adopting a motion of no-confidence. In the event of an internal conflict, the Cabinet will tender its resignation to the Queen, which is often followed by snap elections and the formation of a new Cabinet.
The new Cabinet
Will the House of Representatives accept the new Cabinet? This becomes clear after the debate about the Government’s Policy Statement. What matters is that the Cabinet can rely on good cooperation from the House of Representatives. There is very little likelihood, however, that the Cabinet will fall at its first performance. After all, the coalition parties have had intensive consultation throughout the formation process. They support the Coalition Agreement and the Government’s Policy Statement. Only once in Dutch parliamentary history has a Cabinet fallen immediately after its formation, namely in 1939.