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King Filip asks N-VA and PS leaders to prepare government formation

It’s been a busy day for Filip, King of Belgians.  After making his national holiday address to the nation that mainly focused on the corona crisis, the king invited Bart De Wever, the leader of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, Belgium’s biggest party, and Paul Magnette, the leader of the Francophone socialists of PS, the biggest party in southern Belgium, to his office.

The king proceeded to ask Mr De Wever and Mr Magnette to make all necessary preparations ahead of the formation of a new Belgian federal government that has broad parliamentary support. The two party leaders accepted to undertake this new task.

Belgium has been struggling to find a new, fully-fledged federal government ever since the inconclusive elections on 26 May last year.  The country is currently administered by a minority government installed to tackle the corona crisis.  This government has the support of ten parties from government and opposition benches, but also a mandate limited in time, until September.  Mr De Wever’s and Mr Magnette’s challenge will be to come up with a durable alternative.

Efforts have been underway to construct a new federal government that includes the existing government parties Flemish and Francophone liberals and Flemish Christian democrats topped up with the N-VA, the PS, the Flemish socialists and Francophone Christian democrats. It’s the so called 'Arizona Coalition' as the political colours associated with the parties involved mirror the colours of the Grand Canyon State.

Mr De Wever and Mr Magnette are seasoned politicians and well-placed to bridge any gap between Belgium’s many divides. The two parties, N-VA and PS, have been in contact in recent weeks after Mr Magnette finally indicated that he might be prepared to enter government with a party that has been demonised south of the linguistic divide.

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