"PM won't seek confidence of parliament"

Deputy premier Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) has made it clear that the prime minister will not seek confidence of parliament after the Flemish nationalists quit his administration and left him at the head of a minority government.  Mr Reynders told VRT News that the opposition was free to table a no confidence motion.  However he warned against a caretaker administration ahead of elections that could take no new meaningful initiatives.

Mr Reynders, who now doubles as foreign and defence minister, told VRT that normally speaking there wouldn't be a confidence vote following Tuesday's debate in parliament.  The PM is expected to respond to earlier interventions by lawmakers.  This may be followed by a vote on the 2019 budget.

The Flemish socialists earlier threatened to table a no confidence motion if the PM didn't seek the confidence of parliament.  Mr Reynders hopes that the minority government will be able to remain in power in coming months, acting step by step.  He believes this is the best solution until the May general election.  He thinks the now opposition N-VA will support the government on issues that it earlier negotiated.

Mr Reynders is eager to involve other parties too, e.g. the greens, seeking their support on climate measures, though this could result in friction with the N-VA. He recognises governing as a minority administration could be difficult, but is preferable to allowing the government to fall ushering in a caretaker administration: "I'm backing a minority government will full powers that takes all matters to parliament" Mr Reynders said.