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.

Democratic legitimation

It may appear as if Parliament is not involved in the whole appointment procedure. Yet, there is democratic legitimation. 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.