King accepts prime minister’s resignation, caretaker government to take over

Summary

King Filip has accepted the resignation of Belgian prime minister Charles Michel, which means that a caretaker government will now be put in place

Early elections unlikely

King Filip has accepted prime minister Charles Michel’s resignation, putting Belgium under a caretaker federal government. Unless new elections are called, the caretaker government will remain in place until the scheduled elections next May.

Michel (MR) offered his resignation to the king last week, following a motion of no-confidence in the current government by the opposition. The turmoil was the result of majority party N-VA’s decision to step out of the ruling coalition several days earlier.

While Michel claimed to have offered solutions to how the government would continue to rule with a minority coalition until the elections on 26 May, the green and socialist parties threatened a vote of no-confidence, leading to Michel walking out of parliament on the evening of 18 December and heading straight to the palace.

King Filip has been holding meeting with party leaders since, and today announced that he has accepted Michel’s resignation. “The king has determined that there is plenty of political support to guarantee a good management of the country until the next elections,” the palace said in a statement.

The king has asked for “an adequate response to the economic, budgetary and international challenges” and “to live up to the expectations of the people on a social and public level”. The palace also said that the king would be in constant contact with the caretaker government.

While calling early elections is possible, it is unlikely. That means that the caretaker government will be in place until the May elections, which includes regional, federal and European levels.

Photo: King Filip (left) and now former prime minister Charles Michel at the royal palace in Brussels this morning
©Nicolas Maeterlinck