Government formation is the process in a parliamentary system of selecting a prime minister and cabinet members. If no party controls a majority of seats, it can also involve deciding which parties will be part of a coalition government. It usually occurs after an election, but can also occur after a vote of no confidence in an existing government.[1]

Failure to form a government

A failure to form a government is a type of cabinet crisis where a coalition controlling a majority of seats cannot be agreed upon.[1]


Belgian Governments are typically coalition governments due to the split between the Flemish and French parts of the country.[2][3] On occasion, this has led to a situation where no party is able to form a government but the Parliament does not vote to return to the polls. One source has referred to this as a government shutdown.[4]

This occurred most notably in 2010–11, when Belgium operated without a government for 541 days, and though there were calls for drastic measures to resolve the issue, including the dissolution of the nation,[5] government services were not disrupted due to the implementation of a caretaker government and the devolution of most key functions.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Formation of Government". ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  2. ^ "Belgium country profile". BBC. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  3. ^ Morris, Chris (29 September 2014). "Belgium's complex web of democracy". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ "U.S. Government Shutdown Not Likely to Break Belgium's Record of 589 Days". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Unity at stake in Belgium vote". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  6. ^ Smith, Raymond A. (9 October 2013). "How Belgium Survived 20 Months Without a Government". Washington Monthly - Politics. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  7. ^ Seman, Sarah Jean. "Do as the Belgians Do? The Country that went 589 Days Without a Government". Townhall. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
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