Mr Dewael and Ms Laruelle will now hold talks with political players. They are to report back to the king on 9 March 2020 at the latest.
The appointment follows a stormy sennight in Belgian politics. On Friday justice minister Koen Geens (Flemish Christian democrat) resigned as royal assignment holder and halted his efforts to form a new Belgian government following the 26 May 2019 general election. Mr Geens acted after Francophone socialist leader Paul Magnette slammed the door on a grand coalition including his own party and the Flemish nationalists of N-VA, Belgium’s biggest party. During the weekend many political leaders succumbed to the urge to make outspoken, but probably not always helpful comments. In recent days King Filip, who must have een wondering who next to appoint to unblock the political stalemate in his kingdom, consulted widely with political leaders ahead of tonight’s announcement from the palace.
Voters dealt Belgium’s politicians a particularly difficult hand in the general election and a whole parade of senior politicians of all hues have already tried and failed to square the circle.