How a government is formed: from consultations to the oath, the phases

All the steps governed by the articles of the Constitution

First round of consultations today for the formation of the new executive. But how is a government formed? And what are all the steps you need to follow? It is obviously the Italian Constitution that governs each phase. Here, point by point, is what you need to know.


As explained on the government website, Article 92 of the Constitution governs the formation of the Government with a simple and concise formula: “The President of the Republic appoints the President of the Council of Ministers and, upon his proposal, the ministers”.

According to this formula it would seem that the formation of the Government is not the result of a real procedure. Instead, in practice, his formation is carried out through a complex and articulated process, in which the phase of consultations (preparatory phase) can be distinguished, from that of the assignment, up to that which characterizes the appointment.

Before assuming the functions, the Prime Minister and the Ministers must take an oath and obtain the trust of the two branches of Parliament as prescribed by articles 93 and 94 of the Constitution.


This phase essentially consists in the consultations that the President carries out, according to constitutional practice, to identify the potential Prime Minister capable of forming a government that can obtain the confidence of the majority of Parliament. This mechanism is obviously activated whenever a government crisis arises due to the loss of the relationship of trust or the resignation of the government in office. The order of the consultations is governed only by mere constitutional etiquette and has been subject to variations over the years (in some cases the President of the Republic has omitted some of the practice interviews). In essence, this phase can be considered really limited to those consultations that could be defined as necessary, that is, those concerning the heads of parliamentary groups and coalition representatives, with the addition of the Presidents of the two branches of Parliament, who must be however heard on the occasion of the dissolution of the Chambers. By way of example, it can be said that the current list of personalities that the President of the Republic consults includes: the Presidents of the chambers; the former Presidents of the Republic, political delegations.


Even if not expressly provided for by the Constitution, the assignment of the assignment may be preceded by an exploratory mandate which becomes necessary when the consultations have not given significant indications. Apart from this hypothesis, the President assigns the task directly to the person who, by indication of the majority groups, can set up a government and obtain the confidence of Parliament. The institution of the conferral of the office basically has a customary root, which responds to constitutional needs. In the resolution of crises it is believed that the Head of State is not legally free in the choice of the person in charge, being bound in order to identify a political personality capable of forming a government that has the confidence of Parliament. The assignment is conferred in an exclusively oral form, at the end of an interview between the President of the Republic and the chosen personality. The Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic announces the appointment of the appointment, with a press release, on radio and television. Once the office has been conferred, the President of the Republic cannot interfere in the decisions of the person in charge, nor can he revoke the mandate for purely political reasons.


The person in charge, who usually accepts with reserve, after a short round of consultations, goes again to the head of state to dissolve, positively or negatively, the reservation. Immediately after the dissolution of the reserve, the decrees appointing the Head of the Executive and the Ministers are signed and countersigned. In summary, the procedure ends with the issuance of three types of decrees by the President of the Republic:

– the appointment of the Chairman of the Board (countersigned by the appointed Chairman of the Board, to certify acceptance);

– the appointment of individual ministers (countersigned by the Prime Minister);

– that of acceptance of the resignation of the outgoing government (also countersigned by the appointed Prime Minister).


Before taking up their functions, the Prime Minister and the Ministers must take an oath according to the ritual formula indicated in art. 1, paragraph 3, of law no. 400/88. The oath represents the expression of the duty of fidelity that falls in a particular way on all citizens and, in particular, on those who perform fundamental public functions (based on Article 54 of the Constitution). Within ten days of the appointment decree, the Government is required to appear before each House to obtain the vote of confidence, a vote that must be motivated by the parliamentary groups and take place by roll call, in order to directly engage the parliamentarians in the responsibility of such concession in front of the electorate. It is good to specify that the Prime Minister and the Ministers assume their responsibilities right from the oath and, therefore, before the trust.


“I swear to be loyal to the Republic, to loyally observe its Constitution and laws and to exercise my functions in the exclusive interest of the nation”