King holds consultative talks with party leaders
For the time being at least King Filip has not relieved Geert Bourgeois (Flemish nationalist) and Rudy Demotte (Francophone socialist) of their duties as “Federal Pre-Formateurs”. The two politicians reported to the King on Monday afternoon and had been expected to hold a press conference. However, this didn’t materialise and the Palace announced that King Filip had not yet relieved them of their duties.
The Pre-Formateurs had been charged with taking the eventual formation of a new Federal Government to a new stage. However, it would appear that not enough progress has been made and that the water between the largest Flemish party in the Federal Parliament, the Flemish nationalists, and the largest Francophone party, the socialists, is simply too deep.
On Monday evening King Filip held one-on-one talks with the leader of the Francophone socialists Paul Magnette and the Flemish nationalists Bart De Wever. Comments made since by Mr Magnette in media interviews and a VRT radio interview with the Flemish nationalists’ Deputy Leader Lorin Parijs appear to indicate that an agreement between the their respective parties to form the backbone of a new federal coalition is as far away as ever.
Today the King will meet with the Prime Minister in Belgium’s Caretaker Federal Government Sophie Wilmès (Francophone liberal) and the leader of the Flemish liberals Gwendolyn Rutten and the Flemish socialist leader John Crombez.
160 days after the elections a new Federal Government appears further away than ever.