So who will be the new Belgian PM?

The election of Charles Michel as the next president of the European council means there will soon be a pressing vacancy in Brussels.

Mr Michel takes up his new job on 1 December, but what happens if Belgium is still without a new government on this date?

The hot favourite is Didier Reynders, Belgian foreign minister and a fellow Francophone liberal.  Mr Reynders is a deputy premier and has bags full of experience.  If Mr Reynders takes up the top job he may even be able to keep many of his existing policy briefs.  Due to departures from the government Mr Reynders is also defence minister in the caretaker administration that has been running Belgium as a minority government since the Flemish nationalists left the cabinet at the beginning of the year.  Mr Michel is now language neutral in Belgian government terms.  The Belgian cabinet has to have an equal number of Francophones and Flemings, but being language neutral means he isn’t taken into account in the calculation.  If the government is scaled down further Mr Reynders could even retain his status as a Francophone, but the deputy premiership he will have to vacate.  This can easily go to a fellow Francophone liberal, e.g. Sophie Wilmès or Denis Ducarme.

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