Last-minute compromise keeps Belgium’s government formation talks alive
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Preformators Conner Rousseau (left) and Egbert Lachaert. Credit: Belga
Francophone liberal party leader Georges-Louis Bouchez has agreed to a compromise proposal put forward by Egbert Lachaert and Conner Rousseau, the two politicians appointed by the king to lead talks on the formation of a new federal government, Belga News Agency reports.
The royal appointees’ mission was extended by the king on Monday, and the two agreed on Wednesday morning on the outlines of a government programme. It remained to be seen whether Bouchez, who expressed reservations over several points last weekend, would be in favour of it.
Lachaert and Rousseau met with Bouchez on Wednesday afternoon, and the outcome of this discussion would be positive, according to the negotiators’ entourage.
Bouchez seemed to confirm this on Twitter, commenting that he gave this positive answer “all alone” and not under the orders of fellow party member Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès.
This opens the way to a “plenary” meeting with representatives of the 7 parties of the potential future government coalition (the two socialist parties, the liberal parties, the green parties and the Flemish Christian democrats). Lachaert and Rousseau are expected at 6:30 PM at the Palace, however, which leaves little time for such a gathering.
Shortly after 5:00 PM, the preformators were back in the House of Representatives. There they would hold a bilateral meeting with the presidents of the green parties, then with the Christian democrats, only to potentially convene a 7-party meeting before moving on to the Royal Palace.