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“New Belgian government by 1 October”

Filip, King of Belgians, has given the two men paving the way for formal federal government formation talks extra time to do their job.  The process has been complicated by the fact that one of the two, Flemish liberal leader Egbert Lachaert, has come down with coronavirus.

Mr Lachaert and Flemish socialist leader Conner Rousseau have until 21 September in order to present a final report to the head of state. King Filip spoke with the two pre-formateurs on the telephone.

Mr Lachaert and Mr Rousseau hope to have a new Belgian government installed by 1 October. Political pundits will have to wait a little longer in order to learn with certainty who will be asked to form the new government and become PM.

The pre-formateurs were supposed to suggest the name of a new formateur today, but that deadline has been shattered by a bout of coronavirus.

Physical meetings between the leaders of the Flemish and Francophone liberals, socialists and greens and the Flemish Christian democrats can only be resumed on 18 September when everybody is out of quarantine. Getting final agreement by video conferencing is unworkable, political leaders say.

PM Wilmès’s current minority administration was supposed to seek a new mandate on 17 September, but the seven party leaders of the new majority that is being established have agreed to wait until 1 October to hold a vote.

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