Seven Belgian political parties on Friday agreed to start talks on forming a government — French- and Dutch-speaking liberals, socialists and greens as well as Dutch-speaking Christian democrats
“After months of stagnation, we want to move the country, its citizens and businesses forward again,” Egbert Lachaert, leader of the Flemish liberal party Open VLD who was appointed by King Philippe to guide the talks, said at a press conference.
The country has been without a fully functioning government since December 2018 and a general election in May 2019 did not break the stalemate.
Despite the wide range of parties involved, the future coalition would not have a majority of seats in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders, as the Flemish nationalist N-VA and the far-right Vlaams Belang haven’t been given a seat at the coalition table.
It’s not clear yet who would lead any future government if the seven parties can strike a deal. The king on Friday appointed Lachaert and Conner Rousseau, of the Dutch-speaking socialists, to begin the talks. They will report back on September 11 after which the king will appoint a formateur to head the negotiations — and he or she would be in pole position to be prime minister.
“Whoever becomes formateur will probably be the future prime minister of our country,” said Lachaert. But “we haven’t had the time to talk that through.”