King reserves judgement on “pre-formateurs’” resignation

Belgium’s Head of State King Filip is to reserve judgement on whether to accept the resignation of the Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever and the Francophone socialist leader Paul Magnette from the task he had given them to try and pave the way for the formation of a new Federal Government. Mr De Wever and Mr Magnette handed in their resignation as so-called “pre-formateurs when they met the King at the Royal Palace on Monday morning. 

In a statement released shortly after the meeting ended the Palace wrote “His majesty the King has received Mr Bart De Wever and Mr Paul Magnette for an audience at the Palace in Brussels. The Pre-formaterurs presented their final report and offered the King their resignation. The King is reserving judgement on this and is resuming consultations with the parties that have been involved in the political discussions since the elections”.

Mr De Wever and Magnette embarked on their mission just under a month ago. More than a year after the elections and after numerous attempts by various politicians to get the coalition talks on the rails the leaders of the biggest party in Flanders and the biggest party in Francophone Belgium finally seemed to have found each other. Quite quickly they were able to bring on board the Flemish socialists and the Flemish and Francophone Christian democrats. However, this still left them short of a majority and one other party would be needed to secure this. Initially this didn’t look as though it would be too much of a problem.

However, talks with the liberals showed that this wasn’t going to be the case. They wanted more liberal elements in the document drafted by Mr De Wever and Mr Magnette. The liberals were angered when the pre-formateurs held talks with the greens to see if they might come on board. However, the greens too were not over-enthusiastic.

It will now be up to the King to decide what the next move will be. Almost 15 months after the elections a new Federal Government with a parliamentary majority seems as far away as ever.

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