Caretaker government to become minority government “with power of attorney”

In the face of the health crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effect for the economy most of the opposition parties in Belgium’s Federal Parliament have agreed to grant “power of attorney” to the incumbent minority coalition government that is made up of the Flemish and Francophone liberals and the Flemish Christian democrats. Just what issues and areas of policy will be covered by the power of attorney will be defined in further talks being held on Monday. 

The agreement of the opposition parties to back Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès and her cabinet in their efforts to tackle COVID-19 and take the measures necessary to stave off a crisis in the Belgian economy will be effective for a period of six months.

The decision by the opposition socialists, greens, Flemish nationalists, Francophone federalists and Francophone Christian democrats came late on Sunday evening after hours of talks. Earlier on Sunday the Francophone socialists buried the idea of an emergency federal government that would include themselves and the Flemish nationalist as well as other parties. Their rejection of entering an emergency government with the Flemish nationalist came despite them having being involved in talks with the Flemish nationalists on the formation of such an emergency government.

The agreement to give power of attorney to Sophie Wilmès and her minority coalition government will mean that she and her ministers won’t have to constantly seek parliament’s approval for measures to attempt to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and the economic damage it is causing and will cause as time goes on. 

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