The 44-year-old Flemish liberal leader Alexander De Croo becomes the new prime minister of Belgium. This became clear on Wednesday during a press conference by De Croo and co-formateur Paul Magnette, leader of the Walloon socialists.
De Croo and Magnette made a statement together, after reporting to King Philippe of the coalition agreement reached earlier on Wednesday. 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 on Wednesday after a marathon meeting of more than 21 hours. “Over the past few days and nights, we have done what seemed impossible in our country for too long, namely forming a federal government,” De Croo said during the press conference.
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.
In the end, Belgium had been without a federal government for almost 500 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.
It has been nine years since Belgium had a Dutch-speaking prime minister.