Forming a new government

The process of forming a new government begins immediately after a parliamentary election. This process lays the foundations for the policies the new government will pursue.

Procedure for forming a government

There are no rules laid down in the Constitution on the procedure for forming a government. The Constitution deals only with the beginning and the end of the process: the dismissal of the old government and the appointment of the new government by the monarch. This means the formation procedure is based mainly on unwritten constitutional law and custom. So the procedure may differ from the last time a government was formed. As a rule, however, each formation process contains roughly the following steps:

Forming a governmentThe different stages in the formation process 

The different stages in the formation process 

Caretaker government

A government assumes ‘caretaker’ status once it, or the prime minister, has submitted a letter of resignation to the King. The caretaker government continues to govern until a new government is appointed, but deals only with ongoing business. It does not deal with any politically sensitive (i.e. controversial) issues. The Senate and the House of Representatives decide which issues are controversial.

Ministry responsible