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Belgium begins another attempt to form a federal government
Belgium will embark on its 10th round of government formation talks, after liberal politician Egbert Lachaert was appointed by King Philippe to start negotiations with all parties.
The country has gone 20 months, since December 2018, without a fully functioning federal government, after the previous coalition collapsed.
Since the federal elections on 26 May 2019, nine rounds of consecutive formation talks have already commenced and ended without leading to sufficient parliamentary support.
Paul Magnette and Bart De Wever, the leaders of the Walloon socialist party PS and the Flemish nationalist party N-VA, threw in the towel last Monday after they were unable to secure enough support to form a much-needed Belgian government.
Lachaert's talks could be the last-ditch effort before new elections become inevitable. With a mandate to "take the necessary initiatives with the purpose of forming a government with a broad majority in parliament”, King Philippe has tasked the leader of Flemish liberal party Open VLD to commence talks with prominent political figures in all political parties in order to come up with a formation plan. Lachaert’s first report to the king is planned for Friday 28 August.
According to VRT, Lachaert will not have to start from scratch. "Much of the substantive work has already been done in the last few months," the broadcaster reports.
Lachaert's party, Open VLD, said he would "execute the mission given to him by the king in all discretion. He will not start his task looking in just one direction. The intention is to invite all parties, and start with an open mind."
Photo: Benoit Doppagne/Belga