King appoints 12th person in latest attempt to form Belgian government
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    King appoints 12th person in latest attempt to form Belgian government

    Credit: Belga

    After the Belgian King accepted the resignation of Bart De Wever and Paul Magnette following the failure of the latest consultation rounds to form a federal government, he tasked liberal Egbert Lachaert with the mission.

    On Friday, the chairmen of the two biggest parties in Belgium, Bart De Wever of the Flemish rightwing N-VA and Paul Magnette of the Walloon socialist PS, announced that they abandoned their task.

    Now, King Philippe accepted their resignation and gave their task to the chairman of the Flemish liberal Open VLD party, Egbert Lachaert, the Royal Palace announced on Tuesday.

    “The King has charged Mr. Egbert Lachaert with the task of taking the necessary initiatives to form a government with a broad majority in parliament,” a press release said. “Mr. Lachaert has accepted this mission and will make a first report to the King on 28 August.”

    Since the elections in May 2019, Lachaert is the twelfth person in 15 months who has been ordered by the king to find a solution for the formation of a federal government. His specific task is to avert the doomsday scenario of new elections.

    Besides De Wever and Magnette, several other informateurs and preformateurs, such as Didier Reynders, Johan Vande Lanotte, Geert Bourgeois, Joachim Coens and Georges-Louis Bouchez, have previously been appointed as well, but none of them managed to find a way to unite the Flemish-Walloon split vote in the country.

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    For the time being, it is still unclear which path Lachaert will take. Over the past few months, he has profiled himself as a “stable factor” in his party, reports VRT.

    Lachaert wants to “carry out the assignment he received from the king in all discretion,” according to an Open VLD press release. “It is the intention to invite the different parties again and to start with an open mind.”

    By 17 September, however, the special powers granted by the parliament to the caretaker government of Sophie Wilmès will expire.

    “There is a need for a strong government, with broad support and a balanced policy. In difficult times, politics must transcend its differences of opinion,” Lachaert said. “We still have a few weeks to make a fully-fledged government, at the service of the population. This task will be carried out in all discretion, in order to create the necessary trust between parties.”

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times