King gives Magnette and De Wever more time

Belgium’s Head of State King Filip has given the leader of the Flemish nationalists Bart De Wever and the leader of the Francophone socialists Paul Magnette another week to get talks that will lead to the formation of a new federal government on track. The leaders of the largest Flemish and largest Francophone party in the Federal Parliament were given their mission to try and find a way out of the political impasse on the eve of Belgium’s National Day (21 July). 

Early on Friday afternoon the two politicians reported to the King on the progress that they have made so far. Based on their report on the almost two weeks that they have been working as so-called “pre-formateurs” King Filip decided to extend their mission until Saturday 8 August.

Sources in political circles say that the suspicion has grown among the socialists and nationalists towards the liberals after the Francophone and Flemish liberals made public a list of their demands. The list included at least one point that would be completely unacceptable to at least one potential coalition partner. They are reported to believe that the Francophone liberal leader Georges-Louis Boucher is trying to thwart progress so that his party colleague Sophie Wilmès can stay on as Prime Minister for a bit longer.

Meanwhile, the two liberal parties are unhappy at what they see as attempts to cause division between them. With the socialists, nationalists and Christian democrats on board only one of the two liberal parties would be needed for a new Federal Government to have a majority.

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