Charles Michel in "kamikaze" mission?

King Filip has appointed the Francophone liberal Charles Michel as the new "informateur". His task will be to take soundings from the different parties in order to find out which federal coalition government could be possible. The task of an informateur is to pave the way to become a "formateur" to start the actual talks to form a new government in a next phase. It seems highly unlikely though that Mr Michel succeeds. Analysts express serious doubts about his chances. The VRT's Johny Vansevenant even labels it as "a kamikaze mission" which is expected to end in a new stalemate.

After the recent deadlock involving Bart De Wever's attempt, most experts think it's too early to have a reasonable chance to succeed. The question was who King Filip would send out next, after the president of the biggest party (N-VA) had failed.

Most people expected the king to pick someone of Belgium's second biggest party this time, the Francophone socialists of the PS. However, in a surprise move, King Filip chose someone of the PS's eternal rivals, the liberals of MR. Charles Michel heads the party and was recently at loggerheads with the PS, after the socialists decided to oust the MR from the Walloon government and clinching a deal with the Christian democrats of CDH behind their back.

Different options, but how realistic are they?

The king asked Charles Michel "to find out which coalition governments could be possible". There seem to be two main options: a centre-right government as Bart De Wever had in mind, but also including the Flemish liberals. This seems very unlikely, as the Flemish liberals said it's "all or nothing" for them: both in the federal and regional government, or not. They were ousted by CD&V and N-VA earlier in Flanders. At the same time, this would imply that MR is the only party at the Francophone side, with only 20 of 63 Walloon seats, which would make it a very unstable coalition. Or maybe Mr Michel can convince the CDH to join the talks after all? CDH members rejected Bart De Wever's first attempt with an overwhelming majority though, which means CDH would actually have to make a huge U-turn in this one.

Another option is a coalition including the 3 classic parties on both sides of the language divide: Christian democrats, liberals and socialists. This would be a continuation of the outgoing team, but it also seems rather unrealistic, as the MR will demand that they can join the regional Brussels and Walloon governments as well in this case, something which the PS is against.

Earlier, Bart De Wever tried out the possibility of a federal government with the N-VA, CD&V, MR and CDH, but this received a "no" from the CDH. Can Charles Michel succeed where Bart De Wever couldn't break the deadlock? He reports to the king a first time on 4 July.