Government formation: “Time for the next step”

Johan Vande Lanotte (Flemish socialist) and Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) have reported to King Filip for a last time.  In recent months the two veteran politicians have been trying to pave the way for a new federal government after the inconclusive 26 May general election.

The informateurs have brought the country’s two largest parties, the Flemish nationalist N-VA and the Francophone socialist PS together in talks that also involve the Flemish and Francophone liberals, the Flemish nationalists and Christian democrats. Now that all regional governments are in place they believe that efforts to form a new Belgian government can be stepped up. 

An awful lot of distrust existed between N-VA and PS that often defend opposing positions.  Today greater trust has been created but the time is not yet ripe for the appointment of the N-VA and PS party leaders with a view to forming a new Belgian government.  A further round of talks, being dubbed the preformation, will be required.  The N-VA and the PS will now have to hold intensive and constructive talks the outgoing informateurs say. Former Flemish PM Geert Bourgeois and former Walloon PM Rudy Demotte are expected to get the job of preparing the government formation proper.

Still a lot of footwork has already been accomplished as the informateurs held wide-ranging policy discussions. The informateurs presented three documents to King Filip and say that concrete proposals regarding social security, climate policy, pensions and migration have been discussed with all six parties.  It will now be up to their successors to build on this footwork.     

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