After nearly 500 days of negotiations, Belgium is getting a new federal government. The 44-year-old Flemish liberal leader Alexander De Croo will be the new prime minister of the country.
De Croo and co-formateur Paul Magnette, leader of the Walloon socialists, announced this at a press conference on Wednesday. They did this after they had reported to King Philip about the coalition agreement reached earlier today. Magnette congratulated De Croo and wished him success “with the team that you will lead”.
The Flemish and Walloon Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals plus the Flemish Christian Democrats came to an agreement on policy and budget after a marathon meeting of more than 21 hours. “Over the past days and nights, we have done what seemed impossible in our country for too long, namely forming a federal government,” says De Croo.
The so-called Vivaldi seven-party coalition is to form the first full-fledged government since the Michel I government. When that government fell in 2018, it was decided to continue with a caretaker government until the elections in May.
Belgium was ultimately without a federal government for 493 days because the winners in Flanders and Wallonia did not want to work together. On Thursday, the mandate of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès’ temporary ‘corona government’ will expire.
With the arrival of De Croo, Belgium gets a Flemish prime minister again after nine years.