Prime minister offers king his resignation


Belgian prime minister Charles Michel offered his resignation to the king yesterday following a threat by the socialists to bring down the federal government

Migration compact aftermath

Belgian prime minister Charles Michel took to the palace yesterday evening to offer King Filip his resignation. The king has not yet announced whether he would accept or decline the resignation.

Michel, of the French-speaking liberal party MR, left the federal parliament after the socialist parties threatened a vote of no-confidence. The green parties also supported the motion.

According to opposition leader Meryame Kitir (SP.A), the prime minister has offered no concrete solutions for the running of the government now that majority party N-VA has stepped into the opposition. N-VA’s decision was based on Michel’s insistence on signing Belgium up to the Global Compact on Migration.

“From day one, all that we have asked is for clarity,” Kitir told De Morgen. “When N-VA walked out of the majority, we were suddenly faced with an entirely new governmental structure, with no majority. It’s only logical that we would ask that the prime minister to declare a new governmental co-operation. We gave him a week, but there was no answer.”

Early elections ‘unlikely’

New regional and federal elections take place next May, and Michel  had hoped to continue in a minority government until then. He had appealed for “a co-operation ... and good will to roll up our sleeves to meet challenges” to ensure key legislation on tax, health care, employment and the police were still passed.

But, he acknowledged: “This government does not have the confidence of the house, or a majority, we know that.” Before walking out of parliament yesterday, he said his appeal to “form a coalition of goodwill” had “not convinced” members of parliament. “I have to respect that.”

If Michel’s resignation is accepted, it would mean either early elections or a caretaker government. SP.A president John Crombez says that calling early elections is unlikely as the vote of no-confidence was only threatened, never carried out.

“There was no vote of trust or no-confidence,” he said. “The house cannot be disbanded. So right now, the risk of having to declare early elections has diminished significantly. It will probably end up as a caretaker government.”

Photo: Charles Michel announces his intention to deliver his resignation to the king in parliament on Tuesday evening
©James Arthur Gekiere/BELGA