Belgian government in sight – NRC


A year and a half after the elections, Belgium seems to be getting a federal government. Monday evening, formateurs Paul Magnette (PS) and Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) reported to King Filip about the formation progress. A full agreement has not yet been reached, but it is getting closer, they reported there. The seven parties of the so-called ‘Vivaldi coalition’, in which the Greens, Liberals, Socialists and Christian Democrats are represented, would only disagree on the budget, Belgian media report.

The last full-fledged government of Belgium fell in December 2018. The elections that followed in May 2019 revealed a political split: in French-speaking Belgium, mainly left-wing parties won, while in Flanders the right flank grew the fastest. Since then, twenty ‘royal commissioners’, informateurs and preformers have passed in review to bring together a majority. Without success.

An approaching deadline seems to have stirred up the negotiations. Currently, Belgium is governed by a temporary corona government, a minority government with proxies, whose mandate is to lead the country through the corona crisis. That mandate expires on October 1, after which new elections are imminent. In the last week, it accelerated the negotiations.

Magnette and De Croo, also the two candidates for the premiership, were given extra time by the king on Monday evening to reach an agreement. This may be Monday night. Just less than 500 days after the elections, Belgium will then have a fully-fledged government to deal with the corona crisis and a budget deficit of 33 billion euros. That is less than the Belgian formation and world record from 2011, which is 541 days.

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