The government formation process

The process to form a new government occurs most commonly following a parliamentary election. The outcome of each formation process is based on the successful negotiations between political party leaders. There are no constitutionally established rules for the formation process or negotiation terms. These are the main steps:

A parliamentary election is held during which Sint Maarten residents with Dutch nationality elect 15 representatives to parliament. This is followed by the formation process immediately after the results are learnt. The formation process is only necessary when no individual party has an outright majority of the 15 parliamentary seats.

The governor initiates the formation of a new government by appointing one or more informateurs. It is the role of the informateur to advise on which parties are best suited to form a coalition, and whether they have a majority. If this is the case, the governor can decide to skip the information phase and appoint a formateur directly.

After meeting with all parties and analyzing their common goals and key policy themes, the informateur reports his/her findings and recommendations on the best durable coalition back to the governor.

The recommended parties start to negotiate in detail on how they will work together. This includes discussing the primary issues and differences and how they can find a middle ground acceptable to members of the coalition.

The negotiating parties finalize their coalition accord by agreeing on the formation of a parliamentary coalition.

The governor appoints the formateur, generally tapped by the coalition to become the next Prime Minister. However, this is not set in stone. It is the task of the formateur to work with the coalition to put together a new Cabinet of Ministers.

The formateur guides the formation process. It is completed when candidate ministers are selected, screened and a governing program, detailing what policies the incoming government will pursue, is presented by the governing coalition.

The new Cabinet of Ministers is appointed and installed by the governor. This signals the establishment of a new and functioning government.