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.
The scope of the assignment given to the informateur depends on the polling results. If two parties have a majority and they agree with each other, the informateur will have a limited role. Until 2012 (in)formateur(s) were appointed by the Queen. Since 2012 this has been done by the House of Representatives.
There are a multitude of political parties in the Netherlands. Never in Dutch parliamentary history has a single party obtained more than 50% of the votes. Consequently, parties must cooperate and form a coalition government. Parties that are not included in the coalition constitute the opposition. All the Dutch Cabinets since WO II have been coalition Cabinets, supported by two or more political groups, who together have had a majority in the House of Representatives. A minority Cabinet can also gain "passive" support to gain a majority in the House. One or more parliamentary groups promise they will support the Cabinet. In principle, these groups vote in favour of the decisions made by the Cabinet, but they do not have any ministers or state secretaries in the Government.
THE COALITION AGREEMENT
The scope of the assignment given to the informateur may involve the drafting of a Coalition Agreement. Sometimes a new informateur is appointed for this task. The informateur negotiates with the coalition parties about the common goals and the key policy themes of the future Cabinet. When they have reached an agreement, the coalition parties set out the arrangements in a so-called Coalition Agreement. The new Cabinet is bound by the Coalition Agreement and has to implement concrete policy measures over the coming years, on the basis of the agreements set out in the Coalition Agreement.