The Dutch head of state will no longer play a role in the formation of government after general elections. A large majority of MPs have voted in favour of parliament taking over this role in the formation of coalition governments after elections.
The text for the change in the parliamentary rules of procedure was drawn up jointly by opposition parties: the Labour Party, the Freedom Party, the Socialist Party, the Green Left, D66 and the Animal Rights Party. Up until last week, there was no majority for the bill as the Socialist Party opposed the D66 proposal. Agreement was reached after the Green Left intervened with a suggestion to alter the text. Together the parties hold 91 seats out of 150.
A professor in state affairs from the University of Groningen, Douwe Jan Elzinga, warns that MPs have taken a great risk by removing the head of state’s role in the formation process, He says the text should have included a possibility to call on the head of state’s help if needed.
According to commercial news broadcaster RTL Nieuws, parliament had been able to circumvent the head of state in the formation process since 1971, but had never exercised the possibility. However, a future parliament can just as easily undo the new regulation says its Hague desk.
Dutch elections are often followed by a complicated formation process. The head of state, Queen Beatrix, appoints an “informateur”, who looks at the possibilities for forming a coalition government. Once this has been established, a “formateur” is appointed to oversee the coalition negotiations between the parties involved.