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King Philippe appoints Belgium’s first female Prime Minister

Photo: Laura Dekkers

His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium has taken part in a historic moment for the country. The King has appointed Sophie Wilmès (MR) as Belgium’s first female Prime Minister. Prime Minister Wilmès will continue the day-to-day work of the resigning federal government.

This afternoon, King Philippe received Sophie Wilmès in a private audience at the Royal Palace of Brussels. During this audience, His Majesty appointed Sophie Wilmès (MR – liberals) as Belgium’s first female Prime Minister. Since the founding of Belgium in 1830, the country has had 51 male prime ministers and now one female prime minister. The current resigning federal government will now be known as “Wilmès I”.

By Damien Caumiant – Sophie Wilmès, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Prime Minister Wilmès has succeeded Charles Michel who will start his new job as President of the European Council in December 2019. Sophie Wilmès will now head the resigning federal government which means that she will only be able to continue the day-to-day business of the federal government. In May of this year, general elections were held and consequently the formation of a new government is still in full swing. For this reason, the King has only appointed Sophie Wilmès as Prime Minister; she was not sworn in. The previous Prime Minister Ad Interim Charles Michel had to leave this post because of his commitments to the European Union.

Ms Wilmès was Belgium’s Minister of Budget, Civil Service, National Lottery and Scientific Policy for the past four years. Her successor, David Clarinval will take over these responsibilities. King Philippe has received Mr Clarinval for the taking of the oath as minister of the federal government. Minister Clarinval was sworn in because he is a new minister in the resigning federal government.

His Majesty interrupted his fall holiday to receive the new Prime Minister and Minister in an audience. This took place only two days after his oldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant celebrated her 18th birthday. It is expected that the King and his family are enjoying a one week break before returning back to work and school. The King will, however, have to be on standby in case of any developments in the federal government formation.

About author

Laura is from Belgium and has a passion for all things royal. She is Europe Correspondent for Royal Central since October 2016 and has contributed to other news websites. In her daily life she is a fulltime student in EU-politics and political communication.