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Wim Voermans in podcast on minority government

The formation of a new government is in full swing in the Netherlands. Or more accurately, it is in full deadlock. As a result, the possibility of a minority government is being discussed. Would that be a good idea?

Wim Voermans

Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law Wim Voermans talked about this possibility in the Dutch podcast Pa en de Politiek (Dad and Politics) by Frits Wester and his son Auke. 'I am not against a minority cabinet as such’ says Voermans. ‘It would mean that as a coalition you would have to have a lot of dialogue with the House of Representatives which is a good thing. But there is a risk that the formation will just keep going on for four years and that could lead to instability.’

Voermans also points out that Dutch parliamentary history shows we have little experience when it comes to minority governments. 'And the examples we do have did not go well. The last minority government lasted sixteen days. In the late 1930s, Queen Wilhelmina was tired of the situation and told Prime Minister Colijn to form a minority government with three parties. It wasn’t a success.'

The chances of a minority government lasting the full term are about half that of a majority government, says  Voermans. 'It is difficult if the opposition has the majority. In that case, perhaps passive support would be possible, like we had in the Rutte II cabinet – constructive opposition. Then you could make a start.'

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