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Belgium moves on to final step in government formation

Co-formator Paul Magnette. Credit: Belga

President of the francophone socialist party Paul Magnette and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo were appointed co-formators by the king on Wednesday in a new step towards the formation of a federal Belgian government.

This marks the first time since 27 May 2019, 486 days later, that politicians reach the formation stage, which is usually the last step before forming a full-fledged government.

The Palace announced Magnette’s and De Croo’s appointment Wednesday evening and communicated that they “have accepted this mission and will report to the King on 28 September.”

The appointment of co-formators comes after preformators Egbert Lachaert and Conner Rousseau managed to draft a plan that all seven parties of the potential future government could agree with.

Francophone liberal party leader Georges-Louis Bouchez had expressed his reservations over the weekend, but Lachaert and Rousseau offered him a last-minute compromise that he agreed to.

The parties, known as the Vivaldi coalition as their party colours represent the four seasons, include the two socialist parties, the two liberal parties, the green parties and the Flemish Christian democrats.

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Magnette and De Croo issued a statement saying they would “continue the work begun by the two preformators, Egbert Lachaert and Conner Rousseau, whom we would like to thank in particular for their commitment and the solid foundations they have laid.”

“We need a stable and solid federal government that will not only succeed in overcoming the most important crisis since the post-war period, but will also prepare our country for the future,” they said.

The Vivaldi parties “have pledged to work together to deliver a vision for a country that cares for the well-being of all, leaving no one behind, for a strong economy where everyone has a real chance, and for a sustainable society that tackles the climate crisis head-on,” Magnette and De Croo said.

“A Belgium with an open outlook on the world and a strong voice in Europe,” they added.

“In the coming days, we will fully mobilise with the seven negotiating parties to finally provide our country with a stable and solid federal government. And also to give a way out of the crisis. A way forward.”

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times