Longest cabinet formation process in Dutch parliamentary history

Khadija Arib receives the first copy of the Coalition Agreement from informateur Gerrit Zalm

The cabinet formation process following the general elections of 15 March 2017 was the longest ever in Dutch parliamentary history.

The President of the House of Representatives, Ms Khadija Arib, is glad that there is a Coalition Agreement at last and that a new cabinet will take office shortly. "The House can now resume its work at full speed - a moment long awaited by the members of the House of Representatives. It is about time for the House to take up its key tasks again, i.e. to monitor and oversee the cabinet's work and to act as co-legislator".

According to informateur Zalm, the long duration of the cabinet formation process is due to the fragmentation of the political landscape after the elections, as a result of which at least four parties are now required to form a majority coalition. “The negotiations involved four parties, each having different standpoints and backgrounds. That is more complex than negotiations between two parties. And it takes more time. Nevertheless, throughout the long formation process, the parties involved displayed perseverance and a sense of responsibilty.” The informateur said he deeply regrets that parts of the Coalition Agreement leaked out to the media, epecially as the finish came in sight.

The leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnion groups commenting on the Coalition Agreement
The leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnion groups commenting on the Coalition Agreement

VVD, CDA, D66 and Christion Union agree to the Coalition Agreement

On Monday, 9 October 2017, VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristianUnion said yes to the draft Coalition Agreement, following consultations and some fine-tuning. Eventually, the negotiators adopted the final Coalition Agreement on Tuesday, 10 October.

Debate

The next step is a debate to be held by the House of Representatives with informateur Mr Zalm about his final report. This debate will be held on Thursday, 12 October, starting at 10.15am. The debate will end with the appointment of a formateur, a position usually entrusted to the leader of the political group of the largest coalition party. The formateur will then start to interview potential cabinet members, a process that may take several weeks. Once the new cabinet has taken office, the House of Representatives will invite them, and the new prime minister in particular, for a debate on the Government's Statement.

Assignment

Mr Gerrit Zalm was appointed informateur on Wednesday, 28 June 2017. His assignment was to explore the possibilities of forming a cabinet consisting of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Democrats 66 (D66) and the ChristianUnion (ChristenUnie), which cabinet was to strive for broad-based political support in parliament. Check out an outline of the Cabinet formation process, which started after the election held on Wednesday, 15 March 2017.