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King Philippe’s Christmas message: “The moment of the vote must be the result of a careful reflection”

King's annual Christmas message 2018
15:23 24/12/2018

King Philippe of Belgium expressed his confidence that political leaders would act responsibly in his annual Christmas address, broadcast to the nation on Monday lunchtime.

“I have confidence in the sense of responsibility of our leaders to act in the interest of the country and its people,” he said.

While traditionally adopting a neutral and unifying position on the running of the country, the King was unable to avoid mentioning the current political crisis and caretaker government.

He appealed for “open and true debates, where we respect each other, because the moment of the vote must be the result of a careful reflection”,  he said in reference to the planned European, federal and regional and community elections in May, 2019.

Broadcast from his office at Laeken Palace, the speech was recorded before the King accepted former prime minister Charles Michel’s resignation on Friday.

It nevertheless contained some guarded messages. King Philippe referred to an “agitated period” and  “heightened political tension” in the country, which could also allude to the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) in Belgium as well as in France.

The seasonal address included a list of topics that the government and parliament needed to answer: poverty, inequality, climate changes. “These crucial issues of our society require from us all listening and openness, courage and initiative,” he said.

The King concluded with a traditional final message: “The Queen and I and all our family wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ".

Photo: Frédéric Andrieu/Belga

Written by The Bulletin