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Alexander De Croo is Belgium’s new prime minister

© Belga/Thierry Roge

Alexander De Croo, incumbent finance minister and member of the Flemish liberal party Open Vld, is Belgium’s new prime minister.

De Croo is set to lead the country’s 7-party Vivaldi coalition of Flemish and Francophone socialists, liberals and greens (spa and PS; MR and Open Vld; Ecolo and Groen) and Flemish Christian democrats (CD&V).

The announcement comes just hours after the parties clinched a deal, concluding the second lengthiest government negotiations in Belgian history.

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De Croo will spearhead the Vivaldi coalition in steering the country through the aftershocks of the pandemic, and is set to face fierce pushback from the Flemish opposition parties, sidelined from the incoming administration despite making big gains in the election.

The choice of De Croo follows calls for the country’s new prime minister to be a Dutch-speaker, since the last PM to lead a full-fledged government, Charles Michel, was Francophone.

As De Croo’s fellow government formator, the Francophone socialist Paul Magnette, who leads the largest party within the Vivaldi coalition, was also tipped for premiership.

Talks are ongoing among parties on the makeup of the federal cabinet, which, according to Le Soir, will comprise seven Dutch-speaking ministers and seven Francophone ministers.

De Croo was elected president of the Flemish liberal party at 34, a position which he filled for three years before stepping down.

De Croo has been a federal minister since 2012 in the governments of Elio di Rupo (PS) and Charles Michel (MR), twice clinching a vice premiership position. He is the son of Herman De Croo, a former federal minister, deputy and current president of the House of Representatives and the longest-serving MP.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times