The day started around 10am, with the Charles Michel government members swearing the oath at the royal palace. Apart from the PM (photo below), there were 13 federal ministers and 4 state secretaries taking the oath.
The ceremony took place at the royal palace in Brussels and was the first under the new king Filip - he had opted for the venue in central Brussels (photo below: Spiegelzaal or Mirror Room) instead of his palace in Laken, to keep work and private matters separated - the king lives with his family in Laken. The press was also kept at a bigger distance than under king Albert, it could be heard.
Charles Michel greeted the female excellencies with a kiss, except for Elke Sleurs of the N-VA. She had to be content with a simple handshake (watch the video). Mr Michel also had a cordial greeting with fellow MR figurehead and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders - deemed one of his 'enemies' in the party (photo below).
"Thank you, your excellency"
While Charles Michel took the oath in Belgium's official 3 languages - Dutch, French and German - most ministers did this their mother tongue or in both Dutch and French, although some needed a little piece of paper to check their text in the 'foreign' version. 3 members of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA showed a V-sign when raising their hand facing the king, a gesture they had used during the campaign (photo below: Theo Francken, Jan Jambon and Steven Vandeput). They later explained "they didn't have the intention" to make this move.
The Flemish liberal Maggie De Block, one of the only 4 women in the new team, thanked the king just after taking the oath. "Thank you, your excellency. It's my dream", she said, referring to her portfolio of Public Health and Social Affairs. Ms De Block is a GP herself.
Di Rupo and Michel in symbolic moment
The day continued with the traditional picture at the parliament around 10:30am. Still before noon, the symbolic transition of the powers took place with the outgoing PM Elio Di Rupo - whose Francophone socialists are no longer part of the government - handing over the keys of his office and his badge to Charles Michel.
Both had a present for one another - although they are like chalk and cheese in politics. Mr Di Rupo, who has Italian roots, had brought a bottle of red wine - Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - for Charles Michel, who in return gave Di Rupo some chocolate and an art book (see also video).
Next was the first council of ministers, a formal meeting to make a number of practical arrangements. These included who will get which office in the new cabinet. The new government has been installed for a 5-year term.