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A bronze bust of former prime minister Yves Leterme was unveiled in the federal parliament building this week

The caretaker legacy

Former Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme (CD&V) poses next to the new bronze bust bearing his likeness, unveiled in Brussels this week. The bust is located in the federal parliament building. It is a tradition to place a bust of former prime ministers in the building.

Leterme was prime minister from March to December in 2008 and then again between November 2009 and December 2011. His first tenure ended in his resignation in December 2008, following the banking crisis.

He was, however, re-instated as PM following Herman Van Rompuy’s departure from the post in 2009 to become the first president of the European Council. What happened next made international headlines for months: After the government collapsed over electoral reform in April of 2010, Leterme became the PM of the longest caretaker government in the history of the world.

Following that, Leterme sat on the city council in Ypres while simultaneously serving as the deputy secretary-general of the OECD, which saw him dividing his time between Paris and his home in West Flanders. He is now the secretary-general of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm.

His bust stands in the parliament building next to that of Van Rompuy’s.

Photo: Laurie Dieffembacq/BELGA