A guide to the elections: Forming the federal government

Once the votes have been counted, the elected officials get to work forming Belgium's many governments. This article takes a look at the formation process at federal level.

On Monday 10 June, the day after the elections, prime minister Alexander De Croo will offer the resignation of his government to King Philippe. The king will then appoint the De Croo government as a caretaker government, meaning it will remain in office until a new government is formed.

Although the King has no real political power, he does play a role in the formation process. According to Article 96 of the Belgian constitution, only the King can appoint the next prime minister. This could soon change: this month, the De Croo government marked Article 96 as one of the articles that could be amended by the next parliament.

In the following days, prominent politicians and experts will visit the King to discuss the election results and the possibilities for the next government. His guests are usually the leaders of the various political parties. Depending on the outcome of these talks, the king will appoint either an informateur or a formateur.

The job of the informateur (French for "one who informs") is to talk to the political parties to find out how a government might be formed. They must regularly report their findings to the King. Usually, the informateur belongs to the party that performed best in the election.

Finally, the informateur will propose a politician who they think is best suited to the role of formateur ("one who forms"). This person is tasked with forming a government. The King can also decide to skip the role of informateur and appoint a formateur directly, if the path to a government seems clear. A preformateur could also be appointed, to bridge the gap between the roles of informateur and formateur.

Coalition agreement

To form a government, the formateur must draw up a coalition agreement - the goals the next government will seek to achieve - based on the parties' election programmes. The parties must accept this agreement. Negotiations can then begin on who will become ministers. A successful formateur usually becomes the next prime minister.

When all the negotiations are over, the government is presented to the King. He must also officially appoint the ministers, who then take an oath. They draft the government's statement on the coalition agreement, which is delivered by the prime minister in parliament. If the government survives a vote of confidence, it will be able to work until the end of the next term, in this case 2029.

This process could take weeks, months or even over a year, depending on the outcome of the election. After the 2010 elections, Belgium broke the world record for the longest government formation process at 541 days. The formation process of the De Croo government also took over a year.


Preformateur Paul Magnette visits King Philippe during the government formation in 2019 © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

Related news

Website preview
A guide to the elections: The voting process in Belgium
In a complex country like Belgium, it can be difficult to understand how the voting process works. This is how the Belgian people will choose the...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels