Government formation puzzle: Wilmès should stay on as PM, liberal leader says

Government formation puzzle: Wilmès should stay on as PM, liberal leader says
© Belga

Sophie Wilmès should remain Prime Minister, said leader of the francophone liberal party Georges-Louis Bouchez on Sunday.

The coalition that is being put together will lean to the left, so it’s important in a central government to enable political balance to be respected, Bouchez argued, which would justify entrusting the reins of government to a liberal personality.

The seven-member coalition working on a new administration to replace Wilmès’ caretaker government, whose term ends on 16 September, is made up of the Flemish Christian-democrats, the two liberal parties, the francophone and Dutch-speaking socialist parties and the two Green parties.

“We’re in a coalition in which there is a majority of leftist parliamentarians. If, in addition to having a left-leaning government, we have a team leader who is on the left," he said, "you need to give guarantees to the liberals, who must be able to make their policies heard.”

The current Prime Minister is the person best suited for the function, according to Bouchez.

“In any other country in the world, maintaining Sophie Wilmès in office wouldn’t even be an issue,” he said. “When you look at the polls, she is way out in front among francophones. It would be good to follow the wishes of the population from time to time,” he stressed, recalling that Wilmès is the first female head of Belgium’s federal government.

“She hasn’t managed the crisis badly when one sees the popular support she enjoys,” he added. “If it’s a modern government we want, she also qualifies for the post.”

The Green parties - the Dutch-speaking Groen and the French-speaking Ecolo - also feel they have qualified candidates for the post. “There is enough talent in Groen or Ecolo to see a Prime Minister emerge,” Ecolo Co-President Rajae Maouane argued. “If a Green can be the unanimous choice, we are ready to be of service.”

However, Mouane is not opposed to maintaining Wilmès at the helm come 16 September. “It's been a complicated period. she has managed it in a constructive and interesting manner,” Moauane said.

“I’m speaking as a feminist here. One sees that countries where a woman was at the helm fared better.”

The Brussels Times

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