Talks on emergency government continue this afternoon

Political leaders representing six Belgian political parties are holding talks with a view to setting up an emergency administration to combat the coronavirus crisis and the country’s most pressing economic challenges.  Representatives of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the Francophone socialist PS, the Flemish liberals, Christian democrats and socialists and the Francophone liberals are all involved.

Belgium went to the polls on 26 May 2019 and has been struggling to form a new federal government ever since.

Talks broke up last night, but resume this afternoon.  Political commentators speak of an “unprecedented dynamic”.

VRT’s Pieterjan De Smedt: “The situation is so serious due to the coronavirus: what will happen in the hospitals, what about the economy?  It will be hard to explain to citizens if the political system too is paralysed.  It will never be a marriage of love, but one that is the result of great need, because there is no alternative.”

On Saturday N-VA leader Bart De Wever proposed a one year emergency government with the sole brief of tackling the coronavirus crisis and its economic ramifications.

Politicians are looking at what a government accord should contain.  Is it going to be for one year or longer?

But not everybody is enthusiastic.  The Francophone socialists and liberals are worried forming a new government now would waste a lot of time.  New ministers would have to be appointed, whereas those already in office know their brief and possess the right contacts to combat the crisis.    

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