King Philippe of Belgium has announced the start of the second phase of the federal government formation on Tuesday. His Majesty has appointed two “preformateurs”, politicians who will have to find compromises on various political topics with the different political parties.
On Monday, His Majesty the King thanked the “informateurs” Didier Reynders and Johan Vandelanotte – the politicians who spent the last four months trying to figure out which government formations or combinations of political parties will form the new federal government. During the four months since the general elections, the “formateurs” reported back to King Philippe on the progress they were making. Mr Reynders and Mr Vandelanotte told the King, and later the reporters, that they think a government with central right party N-VA, the Socialist Party and the Greens is the best option.
Yesterday morning, King Philippe received Mr Geert Bourgeois and Mr Rudy Demotte in an audience. The audience was followed by a press release in which the Royal Court announced that the King had trusted the preformation task to the two politicians. They are expected to “examine the concrete basis for the formation of a federal government around their respective parties, and this together with the four other parties involved in the discussions.”
The two informateurs will have to report back to the King on the fourth of November. After this report, King Philippe can decide to prolonge their task or to thank them for their services and appoint a “formateur”. The appointment of a “formateur” will introduce the third phase of government formation. In this phase, the coalition agreement will be formed. If the agreement is formed, the new government will take an oath before the King.
In Belgium, the King plays a key role in the process of government formation. He is expected to remain politically neutral at all times as he coordinates the formation proces.
Fun fact is that Belgium is the world record holder of the longest government formation ever. After the general elections of 2010, it took the politicians 541 days to form a new government. Today, the government formation process has just passed 130 days.