From now on, deadlines must be used for cabinet formations. This is the conclusion of a committee that has evaluated the difficult and lengthy cabinet formation of 2021.
Each informant’s assignment should be subject to a deadline, followed by a debate. “That prevents endless information phases,” says committee chair Carla van Baalen. Moreover, it gives the House of Representatives more control and creates clarity about progress.
The committee also argues that the role of the House in the formation of a new government should be defined more clearly. Opinions about the role of the House differ widely and that does not benefit the process.
In 2012, the House of Representatives took over the leading role from the king in the cabinet formation. But clear agreements have never been made about exactly how this should work. The debate on this should be held well before the next parliamentary elections, says Van Baalen.
Dissatisfaction with scout duo
The committee also examined the role of the scout who is the first to act after the elections. In the latter formation, two were even appointed, from VVD member Jorritsma and Ollongren from D66. This led to dissatisfaction, the committee notes after discussions with those involved. The scouts sometimes seemed to be already negotiating, while that is the task of the informateur.
From now on, there should always be one scout with a clearly defined assignment, says Van Baalen. “And let it be someone with some distance from political current affairs.”
The cabinet formation of 2021 went so smoothly, partly because scout Kajsa Ollongren had herself photographed with a document under her arm on which notes could be seen. It spoke, among other things, of a “function elsewhere” for Pieter Omtzigt, then CDA MP.
Afterwards it became clear that this suggestion had come up during a conversation with VVD leader Mark Rutte. It led to a deep crisis of confidence between the key players in the formation process.
Reason for the committee to emphasize the importance of confidentiality: “publicity is not helpful”. According to the committee, transparency during the negotiations “almost compulsively” leads to adherence to the positions taken. Read: the election program. And sticking to that does not promote coalition building.
Chamber President Vera Bergkamp, who received the report today, says that the Chamber now has food for thought. “I therefore promise you: to be continued.”
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