The new cabinet

At the inauguration ceremony of a new cabinet the King first appoints and swears in the ministers. This is followed by the traditional photograph of the Head of State and the ministers on the steps of Huis ten Bosch Palace. The King then immediately swears in the state secretaries. The cabinet formation is now complete.

Before the Head of State can swear in the candidates, they have to send a letter to the formateur, in which they comment on (giving up) their additional positions, business interests and their duty of confidentiality.

Appointment by Royal Decree, countersigned by the prime minister

Article 43 of the Constitution states that ministers shall be appointed by Royal Decree. This is a decision taken by the government without the prior consent of the States General. Article 48 of the Constitution states that such Royal Decrees shall be countersigned by the prime minister. The Royal Decree appointing the prime minister shall also be countersigned by the latter. This is the final formality of the formation process.

Confidence in the cabinet

It may appear as if the House of Representatives is not involved in the whole appointment procedure. Yet, the House keeps a close eye on the formation process. On the one hand, parties must cooperate with each other, for in the Netherlands no single political party ever gains the absolute majority. On the other hand, the confidence rule applies. The new cabinet must enjoy parliament’s confidence. Without confidence, the new cabinet cannot function.