Yesterday morning, King Philippe received the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in an audience. The King approved the dismissal of one of the parties (NV-A) that made up the coalition government.
It has been a turbulent week for Belgian politics, and King Philippe no doubt awaited the outcome with great anticipation. Unfortunately, the fall of the government was unavoidable. On Saturday morning Prime Minister Charles Michel (MR – liberals) headed to His Majesty the King to announce that his government will continue without one of its partners, NV-A (central right). The government will continue as a minority government consisting of CD&V (Christian Democrats), Open VLD & MR (both liberals). Typically, the King only receives the Prime Minister in an audience on Monday morning.
In Belgium, the King has to give the approval of the dismissal of members of the government or the government in total. In the past, the King has regularly kept his decision in deliberation or denied the dismissal if he thought there was another way out. This time, however, King Philippe accepted the termination of NV-A and gave his blessing for the new minority government.
The cause of the fall of the government was the disagreement about the VN Migration Pact that is to be signed in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday. The global compact for migration is the first, intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
The Belgian government and diplomats have negotiated the international non-binding agreement with over a 100 other countries. When the negotiations were concluded, the Belgian government promised to sign the global compact at the convention in Marrakech. However, last week one of the government’s parties, NV-A, backed out and ordered the government not to sign. The other government parties persisted, and NV-A resigned from the government.
In Belgium, the King still plays a role in politics. After the elections, the King appoints the “formateur” who is given the task to form a government. Throughout the government formation, the King is informed on a daily basis and is able to ask politicians for updates. He can dismiss the current “formateur” as he believes he or she is not able to form a government and give other politicans important tasks. Before ministers or secretaries of state can start their task, they have to take an oath before His Majesty the King. And as pointed out before, the King also plays a role in the dismissal of the government.